San Juan County parks bagged more than half of the Public Facilities Financing Assistance Program funds allocated for 2014 by the County Council.
A stair access project for Agate Beach on Lopez was awarded $75,400 and renovation of the Otis Perkins Day Park, also on Lopez, was awarded $58,900.
The rest of the $264,000 in available funds was allocated to the Port of Friday Harbor and the San Juan County Fairground. The airport visitors automobile turnaround received slightly less than $22,000 and a sidewalk project on Mullis Street near the airport was awarded $33,000.
At the Fairgrounds, $7,000 was awarded to the Horticulture Greenhouse Phase I project, $4,000 to an electrical project and $64,500 for a “double vault toilet” project.
The PFFAP Advisory Committee reviews applications and recommends awards, which are screened for legal compliance by the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. The committee consists of the chairman of the County Council, the county auditor, the county manager, and a representative of the Town of Friday Harbor and one from the port districts.
Because applications for projects from the Town of Friday Harbor and the Eastsound Sewer and Water District were incomplete, the advisory committee recommended not to consider those projects, instead suggesting re-application for next year.
Funding for the local PFFAP is generated by a .09 percent sales and use tax passed by the Legislature years ago for the purpose of funding public facilities which promote economic development. By law, the funds must be used for a “public facility” listed on the county economic development plan, and the money must “foster economic development in the community,” but it cannot be used to assist private businesses.
Perhaps reflecting an improved economy in the islands, the amount allocated for 2014 represents an increase of about $70,000 over the amount allocated for 2013.