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Aug 10, 2016 11:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Public Hearing On Water Quality Addition To CPF In Southampton Met With Support

November vote will determine if 20 percent of Community Preservation Funds can be put towards water quality improvement projects, as well as if the CPF can be extended an additional 20 years.
Aug 10, 2016 12:55 PM

Funded by a 2-percent tax on most real estate transactions, the CPF is currently used to protect open space, agricultural, historical and recreational resources, and community character in the five East End towns. A November referendum will ask voters to allow as much as 20 percent of revenues—an amount that could be $10 million to $12 million annually in Southampton Town alone—to also be used for water quality projects, in addition to extending the CPF an additional 20 years from its current expiration date in 2030, to 2050.

The regional plan involves all five East End towns and will go before the voters in each town for their approval in November.

At the August 9 Southampton Town Board meeting, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. praised the town’s efforts in drafting a water quality improvement project plan, a document that will provide a blueprint for how it would use 20 percent of its CPF revenues.

“We’re here because there is no dispute that there is a water quality problem on Long Island,” Mr. Thiele said. “Scientists are telling us that. Frankly, all we have to do is look around us. We have to undertake this problem and show leadership on the local level.”

According to the draft plan, the first priority would be to tackle ineffective septic systems through rebate incentives for voluntary updates. The town would then work to remediate water bodies, followed by working to restore habitat. Possible projects might also focus on alternatives to traditional septic systems, as well as pollution and runoff prevention.

A half dozen residents spoke at the public hearing in favor of the plan, including several members of different citizens advisory committees and the Peconic Baykeeper, Sean O’Neill.

Kevin McAllister, president of Defend H20, said although he supports these water quality efforts, he is concerned about the grandfathering of certain septic systems and suggested that updates become a mandate rather than voluntary.

“To have these systems get into place in the shorter term, there is a need for a mandate,” Mr. McAllister said. “Unfortunately the town is not looking to do that. I don’t feel like we will see these instituted in a timely manner. If it’s purely voluntary, it will take a long time.”

There will be another public hearing on extending and expanding the CPF at a Town Board meeting at 6 p.m. on August 23.

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Once a tax, always a tax. The CPF will now never go away. A slick move by government to keep revenues constantly coming in for pet projects. "Mandate" means money for consumers and homeowners.
By The Real World (284), southampton on Aug 10, 16 11:35 AM
It's up for referendum. Get the majority to vote against it and the tax will "go away" after 2030. It's that simple.
By Nature (2941), Southampton on Aug 10, 16 12:45 PM
"Frankly, all we have to do is look around us. We have to undertake this problem and show leadership on the local level.” Leadership which would include rejecting proposed rezonings with added density.
By rburger (67), Remsenburg on Aug 10, 16 12:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about using these funds to lower taxes where the taxes are highest in the town?
By Mouthampton (271), Southampton on Aug 10, 16 10:51 PM
This is a proposal to fund individual homeowners septic systems upgrades. I personally do not feel that we should be paying people to upgrade their septic system, particularly if they own a home on the water.

If they were using the money to specifically clean up the road run off that goes into every water body off of every road out here that would be another matter. Or to improve the two septic/sewage systems that overflow into the bays .

But the proposal as I read it is about ...more
By AL (56), southampton on Aug 11, 16 8:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
McAllister is correct the towns can pass laws that mandate upgraded septic systems. This would not use any of the CPF funds. It would simply be another regulation affecting not just new construction or renovations but every structure with in the watershed of water bodies. SO in other words if you live with 100 feet of a wetland now the DEC has a regulation that determines what you can do with in that 100' setback.( Basically nothing but revegetate with native plants.) If the town writes a law ...more
By AL (56), southampton on Aug 11, 16 9:03 AM
This is a proposal to fund individual homeowners septic systems upgrades. I personally do not feel that we should be paying people to upgrade their septic system, particularly if they own a home on the water.

If they were using the money to specifically clean up the road run off that goes into every water body off of every road out here that would be another matter. Or to improve the two septic/sewage systems that overflow into the bays .

But the proposal as I read it is about ...more
By AL (56), southampton on Aug 11, 16 9:04 AM
What's next? Using CPF money to make sure people can buy a Prius? This is a pure example of politicians and government looking for a way to spend money it receives without ending the tax. The CPF did it job. Give the money back to the people. Maybe if McAllister ever got a real job he wouldn't be so quick to promote mandates. And our politicians listen....sad
By The Real World (284), southampton on Aug 11, 16 3:49 PM
Don't like the proposal? Get off 27east, start a coalition and campaign against the referendum. If you truly believe it's wrong, now is the time to get other's on your side. You have until voting day
By Nature (2941), Southampton on Aug 11, 16 3:58 PM
Sorry Nature, I work. Shouldn't have to put together a coalition to stop frivolous taxation and spending. That is what, theoretically, elected officials are for.
By The Real World (284), southampton on Aug 12, 16 7:31 AM
Well, it's your opinion that it's frivolous taxation and spending. It's my opinion that this is a wise proposal that will help preserve our community and improve our water quality.

And, not for nothin', but if unless you're trading real estate like baseball cards, how does this "tax" impact you?
By Nature (2941), Southampton on Aug 12, 16 9:19 AM
2 members liked this comment
Doesn't impact homeowners who refinance their mortgages?
By Lion (90), southampton on Aug 14, 16 7:48 AM
No - it only impacts when you purchase a home. Refinances are exempt, as is the first $250,000 (I believe?) of the home price. First time home buyers are exempt as well (up to a certain amount).

Point is, if you already own a home, it shouldn't impact your pocket at all and the open space it buys only improves your property value
By Nature (2941), Southampton on Aug 15, 16 3:09 PM