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Property preservation income to exceed 2020 funding: Review of maintenance plans underway

Money from the Community Preservation Fund (CPF), which is financed by a 2% tax paid by property buyers on Shelter Island, have almost exceeded the amount the Town received for all of 2020. CPF Advisory Board Chairman Gordon Gooding told his committee Monday morning the Island received $3.085 million in 2020, while with just a few months to go until the end of the year it has already received $$3.067 million.

“We will break expectations,” Mr. Gooding said.

All the East End towns have seen increases in CPF revenues because of a hot real estate market that brought buyers to the East End to escape more crowded venues during the COVID pandemic.

Even though that market is expected to cool, according to Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), it won’t be a rapid decline. Some of the projected decline is attributable to few properties being available, Mr. Thiele has said.

Members of the CPF Advisory Board will be visiting several properties purchased with CPF revenues to review maintenance needs. Most of the purchased sites have maintenance plans in place, but the visits are to ensure plans are being followed and that no other issues have arisen, Mr. Gooding said.

Signage at each site now includes QR codes, enabling visitors to use their smartphones to get information about the acquisition; each will have a map showing trails that can be hiked through most of the properties.

Trail club members have assisted in clearing paths for hikers to enjoy the properties. Only a few sites have been left in their natural state with no changes.

Mr. Gooding also noted the “This Land Is Your Land” exhibit of acquired properties at the Shelter Island Historical Society has proven so popular that instead of ending this month it will be continued until Dec. 30.

CPF member Albert Brayson, who also serves on the Water Quality Improvements Advisory Committee (WQI), told his CPF colleagues there has been a little uptick in applications to the WQI for grants to offset costs of installing nitrogen-reducing I/A septic systems. Without citing specific numbers, he said the increase is “a good thing.”