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Preservation Fund Revenues Down Again

Thu, 09/26/2019 - 14:04

For the first eight months of 2019, revenues for the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund are down by nearly 21 percent from the same period last year, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced on Monday. Thus far in 2019, $52.82 million has been collected, compared to $66.79 million in 2018.

The preservation fund, which provides money for land preservation and water quality improvement, receives the proceeds of a 2-percent real estate transfer tax in the five East End towns: East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Southold, and Riverhead.

In August, revenues from sales across the region totaled $6.02 million, compared to $6.43 last year. Despite the decline, said Mr. Thiele, “Revenues have stabilized in the last three months and more closely resemble revenues for last year.”

In East Hampton and Riverhead, revenues have plummeted by nearly 36 percent for the year, and in Southampton they are down 17 percent. They are up nearly 33 percent on Shelter Island, and about 4 percent in Southold.

The high points for the year came in June and July, when $8.8 million and $8.58 were collected over all, compared to $5.47 million in January, $6.51 million in February, $4.56 million in March, and $5.48 million in May.

In March, Mr. Thiele had said, “There is no doubt that the six-year streak of $90 million-plus per year in C.P.F. revenue is in serious jeopardy.” That assessment appears to be holding true.

An increase in home sales over the past few months offers hope that the market is rebounding, but, as Mr. Thiele pointed out, “every month in 2019 is less than the corresponding month for 2018.”

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