Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund Program Manager Mary Wilson has announced her retirement. Since its inception in 1999, the CPF has made possible the preservation of more than 4000 acres of vacant and improve parcels of historic, recreational, and environmental value. Across her 17-year tenure, Wilson has worked to identify key areas, mainly along water bodies throughout the town, to purchase and preserve.
“You will be sorely missed,” Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said to Wilson during a January 17 meeting. “You’ve done a phenomenal job.”
She will retire at the end of the month. According to Schneiderman, town attorney James Burke will work with others in the office in the interim until a permanent replacement is found.
“We’ll make sure all our obligations will be met and the town attorney will step up to make sure there is no interruption,” Schneiderman said. “We’re obviously looking for someone with a law degree and a significant amount of real estate experience who can manage employees. We’ll find somebody really good, but Mary is extraordinary at what she does.”
“She’s great to work with, she’s been extremely careful of following the law precisely, and she’s passionate about what she does. If I was handing out stars, I’d have to give her five. I wish she were staying, but I respect her decision to do other things at this moment. I have nothing but praise for her,” the supervisor added.
Wilson has seen the addition of what she touts an innovative use of CPF revenue, which is taking 20 percent of the annual two percent CPF transfer tax on properties, an estimated $10 million per year, to fund water quality improvement projects.
“This will help broaden our solutions to the degradation of surface and groundwater throughout the town in order to make real progress improving our water quality,” Wilson said.
Southampton has started accepting applications for the second round of funding. The program is conducted on a biannual basis. Applicants should visit the town website at www.southamptontownny.gov to download the submission form, which needs to be submitted by March 15. There is also a checklist with details on required supporting information.
The Water Quality Advisory Committee will rank and score projects based on criteria contained in the application materials. The committee typically receives applications ranging from storm water and drainage improvement to wastewater treatment and aquatic habitat restoration projects. The town board will hold public hearings for projects that exceed $50,000.
“We are working from every angle to encourage innovation,” said Janice Scherer, assistant town planning director, “and share our experiences with other towns, on Long Island and beyond, that struggle with the same issues.”