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Preservation funds broke record pre-COVID

Shelter Island scored a 100% increase in funds flowing into its Community Preservation Fund (CPF) in the first quarter of 2020 over 2019’s first quarter tally.

The town took in $460,000 this year for that time period compared to $230,000 for the same period last year, according to Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor).

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.

The overall 2020 first quarter revenues for the five towns were $30.1 million, or 87% higher than the first quarter of 2019, according to Mr. Thiele, when $16.5 million was collected.

“The totals for the first quarter is the largest in the 22-year history of the CPF,” Mr. Thiele said, adding that March was an especially good month, with a total of $10.2 million coming into towns’ coffers, compared with $4.6 million in March 2019.

But that was then, Mr. Thiele cautioned. “CPF revenues were on a four-month rebound from the 2019 downturn before the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” he said. “Obviously, the necessary public health response shutting down major portions of the state’s economy are not yet factored into these numbers. We’ll be better able to assess the impacts of the pandemic on the real estate industry on the East End and the impact on CPF revenues in April and the coming months.”

Below are revenues by town for the first quarter of 2020 compared with 2019.

                 2020($)   2019($)  % increase

East Hampton     6.70m     5.83m    +14.9%

Riverhead        1.26m     0.71m    +77.5%

Shelter Island   0.46m     0.23m    +100.0%

Southampton      20.20m    8.23m    +145.4%

Southold         2.29m     1.53m    +49.7

Total            30.92m    16.54m   +86.9%