The balance in the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund has gone up 45.9 percent over last year, according to the office of Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, I-Sag Harbor.
Thiele says the fund, which generates its revenues through a 2 percent real estate transfer tax on home sales over $250,000, took in $58.78 million in 2010.
In 2009 the fund generated $40.3 million and since it’s inception in 1999, Thiele reports that $663.61 million has been collected.
“Certainly 2009 was the height of the recession and there was a significant drop in CPF numbers, but the numbers have bounced back nicely. That is an indication that the local economy and real estate economy certainly improved in 2010. That is obviously good for the local economy and preservation efforts,” said Thiele.
Over the years, the funds have been used by East End town’s to purchase open space, farmland, and wetlands. Among the parcels purchased in Southampton Town are large tracks of land such as the 99.50-acre Kijowsk Farm in East Quogue for $5.7 million; 102 acres at West Neck Hills in Tuckahoe for $5.8 million; and 64 acres of Girl Scout property in Hampton Bays for $16 million.
Hundreds of smaller properties across the East End have also been purchased during the 12 years that the CPF has been in existence. They are properties that , administrator for Southampton’s CPF fund, says are vital to the community.
So many parcels, she said have been purchased for the community to enjoy and use, including land in Westhampton Beach that now serves as a village green.
In total, Southampton alone has preserved more than 3,000 acres of land through the CPF Fund. It has generated more than $300 million.
With so much at stake, a task force, which is charged with making recommendations in regards to proper usage of the CPF funds, recently made to East End towns on how to prevent abuse of the money.
In its report, the task force called for new regulations that aim to give more clarity to the towns in using CPF funds to manage the properties that they have acquired through the CPF program.
Under CPF regulations, up to 10 percent of CPF money can be used for stewardship projects.
It is hoped that all East End Towns will work together to adopt the proposed regulations sometime in February.Town 2009 2010 $ increase East Hampton $10.8 million $17.72 million +74.1 Riverhead $1.62 million $2.29 million +41.4 Shelter Island $.84 million $1.36 million +61.9 Southampton $24.77 million $33.79 million +36.4 Southold $2.88 million $3.62 million +25.7