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Peconic Bay region community preservation fund revenues are up 5.5 percent in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, South Fork Assemblyman Fred Thiele announced yesterday.

The boost reflects an increase in the overall number of real estate transactions in the five East End towns and the ongoing recovery in the local real estate market, according to the assemblyman.

Real estate sales in the five East End towns produced CPF tax revenues of $48.28 million in the first six months of 2015, Thiele reported in a press release Monday. In the same six-month period of 2014, CPF revenues totaled $45.76 million, he said.

Thiele noted that 2014 was “the largest year for CPF revenues in the history of the program.”

The revenues come from a 2 percent tax on real estate transactions above $150,000 in the five East End towns. The tax was created in 1999 to fund land preservation purchases and has generated more than $1 billion for land preservation in the region, Thiele said. It generated more than $110 million in the last 12 months alone, he said.

Riverhead CPF revenues decline
While CPF revenues climbed for the region and for three of the five East End towns, revenues in Riverhead declined year-to-year, according to the numbers released by Thiele yesterday.

Real estate sales in Riverhead generated $1.42 million in the first six months of 2015, compared to $1.79 million during the first six months of 2014, a drop of 20.7 percent.

The revenues are on pace to meet Riverhead’s 2015 operating budget projection of $2.75 million in CPF revenues for the year. However, they still fall far short of meeting the town’s debt service on $70 million in old borrowing done against future CPF revenues, which will cost the town about $5.7 million this year. The town has been paying the difference out of its CPF fund balance, which will be depleted after 2016. Riverhead officials are asking the state legislature to authorize a refinancing of that debt to reduce its annual debt payment and allow the town to pay the cost of that borrowing without drawing on general fund tax revenues.

Shelter Island’s revenues also declined year-to-year, from $1.10 million in 2014 to $0.97 million in 2015, an 11.8 percent decrease.

Revenues increased 24.9 percent in Southold: $2.76 million in 2015 compared to $2.21 million last year.

Southampton Town CPF revenues for the first six months of 2015 topped $28.3 million, up 5.8 percent over the 26.8 million it collected in the first six months of 2014.

East Hampton CPF revenues this year so far were $14.77 million, compared to $13.87 million last year, a 6.5 percent hike.

The first six months’ results show “the continued strength in East End real estate and the continued availability to local towns of the necessary revenues to protect community character,” Thiele said.


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