Port of Friday Harbor poised for lion's share of 2260 awards

By Steve Werhly/Journal reporter

Leaving money on the table does not happen often in gambling or in local government budgeting.

But some $64,000 was left unallocated after the county Public Facilities Financing Assistance Program Review Committee on June 5 recommended funding four requests totaling $130,188 out of $193,990 available to the county. That's in addition to a $55,700 set-aside for the San Juan County Economic Development Council.

The money comes from a .09 percent sales-tax kick-back first authorized by the Legislature in 1997 for economic development in rural counties.

Two entities submitted a total of four projects for funding, and the full amount sought by each was recommended for funding by the review committee. The committee consists of Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher, County Council Chairwoman Patty Miller, Auditor Milene Henley and Economic Development Council Board President Jim Hooper.

Established by the Legislature in 1997, the Public Facilities Financing program, also known as the 2260 fund, provides rural counties that plan under the state Growth Management Act with a .09 percent kickback on local sales tax receipts, and allows that revenue to be distributed to economic development projects sponsored by publicly-owned agencies. To qualify for funding, a publicly owned agency must also be included in the county's overall economic development plan.

San Juan County Parks submitted three separate projects, all of which were recommended for council approval: $6,000 for design of a commercial kitchen, bathrooms and storage in the Marie Boe building at the fairgrounds; $15,900 to pave the parking lot adjacent to the Family & Skate Park at the fairgrounds; $24,000 to connect the Lopez Village park restrooms to the Fisherman Bay Water System. The committee also backed a $84,288 request by the Port of Friday Harbor for construction of a center for pilots and visitors near the Mullis Street gate at the northwest end of Friday Harbor Airport.

The County Council is expected to give final approval of the 2012 allocations at a June 26 public hearing. Asked about the $64,000 of unallocated money, Councilwoman Lovel Pratt said that any unallocated money should be held in reserve for projects in 2013. That reserve funding may include additional amounts for Phase II of the extensive Odlin Park renovation project on Lopez Island, which received $50,000 in 2011.

In addition, the Town of Friday Harbor is allocated 25 percent of the total amount of money available each year. This year, the town's share is $83,000.

Since 2001, much of the money allocated to the town has been dedicated to retiring debt for construction of the town sewer treatment plant; $73,000 of this year's town funding will be used for that purpose. The town will distribute $10,000 of its share of to support the Economic Development Council, Administrator King Fitch said.



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