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Revenue drops for East End's preservation fund

Tax-generated revenue for the East End’s Community Preservation Fund dropped by 19.2 percent in the first three months of 2011 compared to the same period a year ago, according to a local legislator.

The fund, which was created in 1999 to set aside money for open-space acquisition and management, is financed through a special real estate sales tax in each of the five East End towns.

The tax generated $12.6 million in the first quarter, compared to $15.59 million a year earlier, according to State Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), an author of the state legislation that allows the tax.

The decline was driven by a 53.4 percent revenue drop in East Hampton. Real estate revenues in neighboring Southampton were almost the same as last year and were up by 21.4 percent in Southold.

Thiele cautioned that the revenue is driven by the sales of a relatively few large and expensive homes. The first $250,000 of the sale price is excluded from the tax on the South Fork and Shelter Island; the exclusion is $150,000 on the North Fork.

The community preservation fund revenue, by town:

East Hampton — $2.66 million, down 53.4 percent;

Riverhead — $540,000, up 38.5 percent;

Shelter Island — $190,000, down 54.8 percent;

Southampton — $8.36 million, virtually unchanged from $8.37 million last year;

Southold — $850,000, up 21.4 percent.

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