New Coalition Formed Supporting Use Of Community Preservation Funds For Water Quality Issues

Posted September 9, 2016

Erin McKinley for The Southampton Press 50 local civic groups have come together to support using Community Preservation Fund money for water quality issues, a proposition that will be on November’s ballot.

The Clean Water and Community Preservation Committee officially launched at a press conference behind Riverhead Main Street on Thursday morning.

A group of more than 50 East End civic and environmental groups have formed a new coalition designed to spread the word and support the proposed use of Community Preservation Funds for water quality issues, a proposition that will appear on November’s ballot.

The Clean Water and Community Preservation Committee officially launched at a press conference behind Riverhead Main Street on Thursday morning and includes groups from all five East End towns—Southampton, East Hampton, Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island—like the Amagansett Springs Aquifer Protection Association, the East Quogue Civic Association, The Group for the East End, and the Peconic Baykeeper, among others.

The goal of the group is to raise awareness of the proposition that if approved will allow towns to use their CPF money for water quality issues, not just land preservation. Upgrading and replacing septic systems are expected to be a main use for the funding.

Currently, the CPF is used to protect open space, agricultural, historical and recreational resources, and community character. To date, roughly 10,000 acres of open space have already been preserved through CPF money, which is funded through a 2-percent tax on most real estate transactions. A November referendum, which will appear on the back of the general election ballot, will ask voters to allow as much as 20 percent of CPF revenues to also be used for water quality projects. The referendum will also extend the current CPF plan, which is set to expire in 2030, to 2050.

“Today, we feel an expansion of this CPF has just as much hope as it did when we started 20 years ago,” The Group for The East End President Bob DeLuca said at the press conference. “We see it as an initiative that will launch other efforts for water preservation because, as you know, our water is in deep trouble, and it is time to get moving on specific action.”