In Other News: ARF Receives Grant, High School Food Pantry, CPF Down

One of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) recuses at its Wainscott headquarters. Photo courtesy of ARF

ARF Receives Grant for Rescue Efforts

The Irving and Phyllis Millstein Foundation for Animal Welfare, Ltd. (The Millstein Foundation) has awarded the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons a three-year grant to support the transport of dogs to ARF from areas in need in the country struggling to care for the animals because of overpopulation or adversary. The first transport of dogs arrived safely at the ARF Adoption Center in Wainscott on January 14 from South Carolina.

As avid animal lovers, Irving and Phyllis Millstein were long-time supporters of ARF during their lives. Mr. Millstein passed away in 1998, and when Mrs. Millstein died in 2009 ARF became one of the principal beneficiaries of their estate in Amagansett, even including their six pets, two dogs and four cats that were quickly rehomed to loving families. The Millsteins’ bequest has since been used over the years for upgrades at the ARF adoption center in Wainscott.

The Millstein Foundation now continues the Millstein legacy through ARF’s animal rescue program for communities in need. The Foundation’s mission as an animal centered social philanthropy addresses the protection of vulnerable at-risk animals as well as the human animal connection and bond, which ARF promotes and preserves through loving adoptions at its Long Island center.

The Foundation’s grant to ARF will support transportation costs in addition to the medical expenses incurred by ARF’s partners to make the animals ready for safe travel to a new state, including vaccinations, health certificates, and microchipping.

New High School Food Pantry Announced

As part of a collaborative effort to meet the needs of those in the school community, East Hampton High School has recently opened a satellite food pantry to serve students.

“I am excited for the opportunity to have a food pantry at East Hampton High School,” Principal Adam Fine said. “The most important part of this joint venture is the involvement of our Justice League Club, led by Aubrey Peterson and Barbara Boylan. This opportunity allows our students to play a pivotal role in the collection and inventorying of food and personal hygiene products that will benefit their peers at the high school.”

The initiative is an extension of the East Hampton Food Pantry and was facilitated between the East Hampton Food Pantry Board and the district’s Board of Education. While a true collaborative project, integral to bringing the initiative to fruition was the combined efforts of East Hampton Food Pantry Chairperson Vicki Littman and district Vice President Christina DeSanti, according to a press release issued by the food pantry this week. If successful, the addition of other food pantries in schools throughout the East Hampton Union Free School District will be considered.

With the addition of the food pantry, members of the Justice League Club in grades nine through 12 will assist in tasks essential to the food pantry’s operation, such as developing forms, publicizing the pantry, stocking shelves, cataloging inventory, facilitating food drives and coordinating deliveries.

Throughout the year, these students will organize drives targeted at specific food or personal hygiene items as needs arise to ensure the food pantry remains stocked with a wide variety of items.

“I am extremely proud of our students, staff and school for taking on this initiative – one that will certainly have a positive rippling effect on our community and is a first for any school in the Town of East Hampton,” Superintendent of Schools Richard Burns said. “The importance of giving to others is something that we strive to instill in our students from a young age. As this pantry will help to nurture the lives of those attending our own school, it also speaks directly to our mission of supporting every student along their intellectual and personal growth every day.”

CPF Revenues Down 44 Percent

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced this week that revenues for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund were down almost 45 percent in the month of January when compared to revenues collected during the same period in 2018.

According to Mr. Thiele, in January 2019, the five East End towns brought in $5.47 million in CPF revenues, which are collected through a two percent transfer tax on real estate purchases. That is a 44.8 percent decrease compared to $9.91 million in revenues collected in January 2018. According to Mr. Thiele, the January 2019 revenue number is the lowest monthly total in nearly six years, since March of 2013, when only $4.19 million was collected in CPF monies. Recently, New York State projected a $2.3 billion reduction in state income tax collections for 2019. Governor Cuomo put the onus for the reduced tax projections on the federal “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”. That federal tax law change placed a $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT). In addition to the SALT cap, in 2018 the stock market experienced its worst year since 2008, the beginning of the Great Recession, and its worst December since the Great Depression in 1931, said Mr. Thiele. To begin 2019, the stock market has rebounded. The Dow Industrial has increased for 9 consecutive weeks for the first time since 1964.

“It is impossible to determine trends based on a single month of CPF revenues,” said Mr. Thiele. “At least a quarter of a year of data is required to determine whether the revenue drop for January is an aberration or a significant change in the real estate market. Local government officials should closely monitor CPF revenues in the coming months and be cautious in making any long-term projections.”