The stream of Community Preservation Fund revenues in the five East End towns to support land and historic preservation as well as water quality projects fell by 27.4 percent to $29.42 million in the first five months in 2019 compared to the $40.53 million collected during the same period last year.
For the month of May, revenues were down from $8.94 million in 2018 to $5.48 million, a drop of 38.7 percent.
“CPF revenues have declined for five consecutive months when compared with 2018,” commented Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., a principal architect of the CPF law when the state first authorized it in 1998. “While there is wide speculation as to why this decline has occurred, there is no doubt that the six-year streak of $90-plus million in revenues a year is in serious jeopardy. Current trends would result in revenues in the $70-million range for 2019, the lowest since the end of the Great Recession. Local government officials should continue to closely monitor CPF revenues in the coming months an be cautious in making any long-term projections.
Since its inception is 1999, the 2-percent CPF tax has generated $1.411 billion in revenues in the five East End towns. Its state authorization expires in 2050.
Town by town, Southampton’s revenues for 2019 so far as down 31.4 percent from $22.07 million to $15.14 million in the same period last year; East Hampton’s is down 27..1 percent from $12.86 million to $9.38 million; Southold’s is down 6.3 percent from $3.33 million to $3.12 million; Riverhead’s is down 29.8 percent from $1.81 million to $1.27 million.
The exception to the rule is Shelter Island, where revenues were up 8.5 percent from $.47 million to $.51 million.