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Thiele sums up preservation funds: Shelter Island received $2.25 million in 2023

It has been another red letter year for the Community Preservation Fund, which has generated $141.35 million in 2023 to provide money for open space preservation in the five East End towns.

The program resulted from legislation introduced by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) back in 1998. It began pouring money from a 2% real estate transfer tax paid by purchasers of property in the towns into accounts to ensure development wouldn’t outpace the need to provide areas for passive recreation, retaining the character of the East End towns.

In 2016, voters in the five East End towns approved resolutions to allow up to 20% of CPF money for water quality improvement projects.

In 2023, Mr. Thiele moved to increase the tax to 2.5% with the added money dedicated to creation of affordable housing. Only Riverhead passed on the new fund; Mr. Thiele estimates about $10 million has been provided to the other four East End towns for housing.

Changes in the tax have been accompanied by exemptions to avoid burdening property buyers with excessive costs.

Real estate transfer tax money was comparatively low in 2023 since the pandemic hit in 2020, Mr. Thiele said. However, he noted they peaked in 2021, benefiting from a number of people moving to the East End from large cities.

“The gross value of real estate transactions is still above real estate years preceding 2020,” the legislator said. He attributed that to the fact that as the number of transaction declined in 2023, values of properties have generally remained the same.

Shelter Island received $2.25 million from the Community Housing Fund in 2023.

Since the inception of the Community Preservation Fund, Shelter Island has received $43.52 million, Mr. Thiele said.