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Housing Propositions Get Solid ‘Yes’

Thu, 11/10/2022 - 09:04

A community housing fund proposition that would authorize a .5-percent tax on some real estate transfers passed in East Hampton, Southampton, and Southold Towns, but appears to have been narrowly defeated on Shelter Island, according to unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Voters in East Hampton Town gave their decisive approval to the ballot proposition, with 68 percent -- or 7,106 -- saying “yes.” The proposition passed with more than 53 percent of the vote in Southampton Town and nearly 59 percent of the vote in Southold but appears to have been defeated on Shelter Island, though unofficial results have it failing by just eight votes, 889 to 881. 

The .5-percent tax will be in addition to the 2-percent transfer tax on real estate transactions for the community preservation fund. 

The Peconic Bay Region Community Housing Act, signed into law last year, authorized the five East End towns to establish community housing funds to be supported by that transfer tax. Assuming the unofficial result holds, the fund will become operational in January. 

Should passage become official, buyers of a property would pay the .5-percent transfer tax, with the first $400,000 exempt for houses that cost up to $2 million, beyond which the full purchase price would be taxable. First-time home buyers would be exempt. Money could be spent to buy land and buildings, pay for town-led or public-private construction projects for sale or rent, rehabilitate existing buildings, provide down payment and other financial assistance to buyers, offer loans to construct accessory dwelling units, create housing for employees of local businesses, purchase individual units within existing multiunit housing complexes, and offer housing counseling. 

“I am very proud that East Hampton voters supported Proposition 3 with a resounding ‘yes,’ ” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in a text message yesterday. “The funds raised will be a significant part of the town board’s ‘All Hands on Housing’ effort to address the housing crisis here in East Hampton.” 

In another ballot proposition, New York State voters authorized the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. According to the state board of elections website, with 13,065 of 14,245 elections districts reporting as of yesterday morning, the proposition was passing decisively with 59.02 percent in favor and 28.83 percent opposed. 

The act will authorize the sale of New York State bonds up to $4.2 billion to pay for environmental protection, natural restoration, resiliency, and clean energy projects to reduce the impact of climate change. Capital projects that could be funded include restoration and flood risk reduction (at least $1.1 billion), open space land conservation and recreation (up to $650 million), climate change mitigation (up to $1.5 billion), and water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure (at least $650 million). 

In a third proposition, Suffolk voters were overwhelmingly in favor of a proposition to amend the county charter to set a term limit of 12 years in total, served consecutively or non-consecutively, for the offices of county executive and county legislator. The Suffolk County Board of Elections website showed 438,755 votes in favor and just 72,027 opposed, or 85.9 percent to 14.1 percent, with 1,042 of 1,058 districts reporting. 

With Reporting by Carissa Katz


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