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Shelter Island saw increase in preservation fund revenue last year

Shelter Island is the only one of the five East End towns showing a percentage increase in Community Preservation Fund (CPF) revenues for 2019 compared with totals for the previous year.

All five East End towns were showing decreases in their revenues earlier in 2019 from the CPF’s transfer tax. But in the past several months, Shelter Island’s numbers have been increasing, while the others remain under water. 

Money for the CPF comes from a 2% tax that buyers pay when purchasing East End properties and is used in turn to purchase open space for preservation and fund water protection programs.

Aside from Shelter Island, the CPF revenues were lower every month in 2019 than they had been for the corresponding month of 2018, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) said.

It was Mr. Thiele’s 1998 legislation that created the CPF revenue stream.

Shelter Island increased its CPF revenue by 37.5%, bringing in $1.54 million in 2019 compared with $1.12 million in 2018.

Riverhead saw a 31% decline in its CPF revenues in 2019, receiving $3.42 million in 2019 compared with $4.96 million for the previous year.

East Hampton recorded a 29.4% decline, netting $22.65 million in 2019 compared with $32.07 million the year before. 

Southampton’s CPF revenues in 2019 declined by 19.1% in 2019, bringing in $42.86 million in 2019 as compared with $53 million in 2018.

Southold had a smaller decline at 5.2% less in 2019 than it had in 2018. It received $7.41 million for last year compared with $7.82 million the previous year.

Mr. Thiele noted that the overall total of CPF money represents the lowest annual total since the 2008-12 period during the Great Recession.

Since money began to flow from the CPF transfer tax in 1999, a total of $1.46 billion has found its way to the coffers of the five East End towns. Shelter Island has seen $30.1 million to purchase land and improve water quality in those years.