We knew it was coming, but it doesn’t make it easier to swallow.
Real estate sales are down, and that means the special two-percent surcharge added to the purchase price that goes to participating towns is lower than usual as well.
That money, the Community Preservation Fundm is divvied out to the five East End towns as a percentage of sales, and has been used to literally preserve thousands of acres of virgin woodlands and environmentally-sensitive parcels.
The CPF has brought in $1.43 billion since its inception in 1999, but for the first half of 2019, only $46.8 million was raised, compared to $60.4 million in 2018. That translates to a 22.5-percent decline.
All five townships experienced downturns from the year prior: East Hampton lost 33 percent, Southampton is 20 percent, and Riverhead 34 percent.