After a one-year increase in revenues for most of the Peconic Bay region’s Community Preservation Fund in 2018, 2019 saw a sharp decline, Assemblyman Fred Thiele said in a press release last week.
The only of the five towns on the East End that saw an increase in 2019 was Shelter Island, where numbers rose from $1.12 million to $1.54 million. However, that number is still far below the average for Shelter Island from 2013 through 2017.
Southampton Town experienced the largest decrease, though smaller percentage-wise than East Hampton, going from $53 million to slightly under $42 million, or 19.4 percent. East Hampton’s CPF revenue was down from $32.07 million to $22.67 million, a decrease of over 29 percent.
Not since the Great Recession years of 2008 through 2012 has the fund dropped so much, Thiele said.
Southold saw a descend from $7.82 million to $7.41 million, while Riverhead’s went down from just under $5 million to $3.42 million.
The mechanics of the fund were created by the New York state Legislature. Since the fund’s inception in 1999, it has generated, through a 2 percent tax on real estate transfers, $1.42 billion for the Peconic Bay region, Thiele said. The money is collected by the county, which funnels it to the local municipalities. Each town can use only 10 percent of the total it is holding each year, under state law, for land purchases designed “for the preservation of community character,” the purchase of development rights, and other similarly-motivated land acquisitions. The funds may not be transferred into any other account.