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Jan 27, 2014 4:57 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

CPF Revenues For 2013 Nearly Breaks Record

Jan 28, 2014 1:37 PM

Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund revenues for 2013 were $95.43 million—the second-highest total in the fund’s 15-year history.

The 2-percent tax on most real estate transactions, which is used primarily to preserve and manage open space in the five East End towns, netted $12.64 million in December alone. That was the largest monthly total ever.

Among the five East End townships that participate in the CPF, East Hampton’s revenues came in second, behind Southampton’s, as is typical. In 2013, East Hampton took in $28.15 million in CPF revenue, an increase of 28.8 percent over the $21.86 million collected in 2012.

The top year for the five-town total, as well as for East Hampton, was 2007. In that year alone, East Hampton Town took in $30.06 million in revenue, Southampton received $53.53 million and the five towns together took in $96.02 million.

In the following year, 2008, overall CPF revenues plummeted to $56.63 million due to the recession. East Hampton’s proceeds plummeted to $14.5 million and then, in 2009, to $10.18 million, before starting to swim to the surface again.

“It is clear, based on the CPF revenues for 2013, [that] the real estate industry on the East End is in its strongest position since the start of the recession in 2008,” State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said in a press release issued on Monday.

“CPF revenues have more than doubled from 2009 and have shown consistent growth for several years,” the assemblyman continued. “This is good news for preservation efforts as CPF funds should now be flush with cash, allowing towns to be aggressive in protecting lands for open space, farmland, park and recreation, and historic preservation purposes.”

Overall, CPF revenue for 2013 exceeded that in 2012, which was $66.84 million, by 42.8 percent. There were 8,328 transactions recorded in 2013 compared to 5,972 in 2012, according to Mr. Thiele’s office. With $57.79 million for 2013, Southampton Town collected its highest annual revenue ever.

The year 2012 had already been a good one for the CPF, with the five towns collecting some $66.84 million in total revenue. Some people had predicted that real estate transactions would spike late in 2012, before new tax laws took effect, but then drop in 2013. Apparently that was not the case.

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And so they spend it buying beach clubs in Hampton Bays instead of open space that enhances a clean water table. I think the money's burning a hole in their pocket.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Jan 28, 14 12:21 AM
The overwhelming majority of property located over areas of deep aquifer recharge in the Town of Southampton have been preserved. Large blocs of land are few and far between and are thus inherently valuable to developers who believe they are worth more than what they are appriased for.

Take the 400+ acres in East Quogue that are being considered for a PDD. The owners rejected offers from the Town/County saying it wasn't enough money (even though the offer was what the land was appraised ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 9:33 AM
Like putting a boardwalk on the dunes at Neptunes?

Trust is a two-way street, and to earn the public's trust the Town Board needs to become more consistently open, and not pander to private interests.

RIP Sister Walsh -- almost 19 months later -- where is the trust on this issue? [which question makes this paragraph on-topic . . . ]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 28, 14 9:46 AM
PBR - I wasn't as clear as I should have been. Trust that the CPF board will do the right thing with our CPF dollars, it's really up to them. The Town Board only approves recommendations made by the CPF Board and there have been a lot of wacky proposals by the Town Board for CPF monies because some people think it's a slush fund that can cover the costs of anything and everything (I recall a press conference at Southampton College with certain officials proposing to use the funds to buy the college). ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 3:11 PM
Thanks for the CPF clarifications.

BTW the comment about Sister Walsh being left to die on the side of the road almost 19 months ago, and the police waiting 11 days to release the ID and photo of the alleged driver, was actually in general response to your comment: " . . . trust your public officials . . . " -- albeit your context was more specific.

One must also challenge your assessment [ . . . "irrelevant . . . "] that a continued and dogged pursuit of this "gross miscarriage ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 28, 14 4:02 PM
The 2% tax on sales of properties might have seemed to be a win win, but I think over time, as the account grows, CPF is going to drive prices up on residential properties because the more land that is taken off for preservation, is going to drive the house prices up that are for sale. How are the youth in our community going to afford to live here. The second issue is that all this property needs management and maintenance. Who pays for that? The taxpayer who also lost the taxable revenue of ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Jan 28, 14 7:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
"The second issue is that all this property needs management and maintenance. Who pays for that? The taxpayer who also lost the taxable revenue of ...more the land before the townships purchased it."

Money for management of the lands comes from the CPF account. It is a drop in the bucket compared to the ~$55 million the Town is pulling in from land sales.

With respect to taxes - in areas where 25% of the land area has been preserved PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds offset ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 9:36 AM
Nature, do you know how close we are to the 25% level east of the canal (EOC)? Is there enough CPF-qualified land left, so that some day PILOT funds may also be available for EOC parcels?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 28, 14 9:48 AM
Don't have any numbers (Mary Wilson @ CPF would be happy to provide them to you) but based on my knowledge of land use, open space and the like I would gather that unless some golf courses get turned over to CPF the 25% level will never be reached.

I believe it goes by school district - so the MAYBE the Bridgehampton school district could end up with 25% of the land in the publics hands but I really doubt that. Land is too valuable east of the canal and there was no Pine Barrens legislation ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 2:42 PM
Thanks for your assessment.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 28, 14 3:47 PM
Nature, why keep bringing up the PILOT program as a rationale if the 25% is not or will not be met? Am I missing something?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 2, 14 12:22 AM
Because truepub was trying to argue that the CPF program hurts the taxpayer - I wanted to make it clear that when at least 25% of an area is off the tax rolls then the loss in taxes is offset, therefore there's no effect on the taxpayer
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 2, 14 10:47 PM
Has the 25% been met? In other words, is the loss of tax money being offset by Pilot?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 3, 14 9:58 PM
It goes by district. School district, fire district, ambulance district. Many districts have met the 25% criteria - others havn't.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 6, 14 3:45 PM
I agree with Nature, trust your elected officials to "do the right thing" like when they bought the Barber Shop at the base of Hillcrest for 500,000 when nobody else would pay close to that. And will the new use be for everybody?
By 11953guest (48), southampton on Jan 28, 14 9:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
The price is what it was appraised for by the County which is what the Board is obligated to pay. I'm not saying that every purchase will make every person happy, but let's assume they DIDN'T make that purchase.

Your CPF fund (for 2013 only) would increase a whooping .87%

I'm not trying to say that CPF can throw money away as long as it's a small percentage, but what I am saying is your example of the CPF board not doing the right thing with the money they are entrusted with ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 2:46 PM
**should read what it was appraised for using 2 outside appraisals, not "by the county"
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 3:12 PM
How can the Town say no to the, Italian American Club or the American Polish Political Club or maybe they could have used CPF money to renovate the Masons Lodge. If you use CPF money for an African American Museum how do you say no to anyone else?
By 11953guest (48), southampton on Jan 28, 14 3:32 PM
A) CPF program is entirely voluntary. I don't believe anyone can sue the Town for NOT buying their property

B) As noted above, CPF monies can NOT be used for renovations or materials used for sites purchased with CPF money. Money can only be used for the purchase of the property, management of the property, CPF staffing and PILOT funds

C) Is there an "Italian American Club" or an "American Polish Political Club" operating at a historic site within the Town of Southampton?

The ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 28, 14 3:36 PM