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CPF referendum, with an asterisk, in the works

03/14/2016 9:00 AM |

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Due to a recent state law that allows towns to spend some of their Community Preservation Fund money on water quality projects, the Southold Town Board is preparing to post a referendum this year to alter a plan for what to do with the money — a plan that is required by the state.

But crafting that proposal isn’t as easy as it may sound, said Southold Town engineer Michael Collins and Melissa Spiro, the town’s land preservation coordinator.

That’s because the CPF rules will require the town to list specific projects it would spend water quality money on, and Mr. Collins said the town is still waiting on a county study that won’t be finished for another 18 months to guide their ideas. Meanwhile, the plan would need to be finished and approved by the board by June in order to be on a referendum later this year.

The referendum would be on whether the public even wants the town to spend any money on water quality projects, while the mandated plan would let taxpayers know what those funds would be going toward.

“It’s a catch-22,” said town engineer Jamie Richter.

To get around this hangup, the Town Board said it would remake the CPF plan to allow for spending up to 20 percent on water quality projects that could be added to the proposal at a later date.

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