Two weeks ago, the town of Southampton was able to use the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) to protect 22 acres near Bullshead Bay in Southampton owned by the Corwin family. At a public hearing on Friday afternoon, the CPF was discussed at the same meeting in which the town board talked about their tentative budget for 2009.
At the town’s work session last Friday, Mary Wilson, Community Preservation Fund Manager for the town presented a management and stewardship plan as required by the state. In July the state’s enabling legislation was amended to require a plan prior to the expenditure of CPF revenue for management and stewardship projects. This Stewardship and Management Plan is compiled to provide a description and estimated cost for each project to be expensed to the fund over a three-year period.
Wilson said that the projected management and stewardship costs for the next three years in Southampton is $1.8 million.
“We put in $500,000 for this year’s budget and $630,000 for 2010 and 2011,” said Wilson who stressed those numbers were only an estimate.
According to Wilson, the day-to-day expenses in taking care of properties purchased through CPF must also be presented in the plan, including the maintenance of properties, bicycle paths, security lighting, among other things.
At Friday’s work session, Councilman Chris Nuzzi asked Wilson, “Can we still pay for the staff out of CPF?”
Supervisor Linda Kabot replied, “We can pay for some staff but we don’t pay for groundskeepers and other prohibited expenses include elected official salaries, that was done at the state level in response to what happened in East Hampton Town.”
Last winter it was discovered that in East Hampton, CPF monies were borrowed to cover other expenses in town.
In the proposal there are four staff members considered as part of this plan. The management and stewardship plan specifically outlines which projects may benefit from the budget —Â it includes only those projects that promote the protection or enhancement of the natural, scenic and open space character of the property. The plan also outlines the nine areas that will be targeted as the highest priority for preservation such as the Long Pond Green Belt area of the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton.Â
The hearing was closed but left open with a 10 day written comment period. Kabot said the board would need to table it until November 12, for the next board meeting.