Four agencies get a share of 2260 funds

Some costly repairs and renovations may prove somewhat easier for four public agencies thanks to San Juan County's so-called 2260 fund.

On June 9, the County Council backed recommendations of its 2260 review committee and divvied up roughly $282,000 in economic development dollars, awarding a portion of the total to each of the four. The council also agreed, based also on the committee's recommendation, not to distribute any cash to the county Department of Public Works, which was seeking $225,000 to help pay for the construction of a new solid-waste transfer station on San Juan Island.

According to Administrator Pete Rose, who, along with Auditor Milene Henley, is a member of the review committee, it's unlikely that Public Works would be ready to break ground on the transfer station project before 2011. Timeliness is among several key priorities that determine whether a funding request should be approved. Two years ago Public Works received a 2260 award of $123,000 to help cover the cost of designing a new transfer station and, according to Rose, will submit an application next year to help pay the construction costs.

This year's recipients are: Fisherman Bay Sewer District, awarded $60,000 for upgrade of a septic lagoon; county Parks, which received $112,000 to help finance replacement of the restrooms at the county park on San Juan Island; the county Fair, awarded $32,250 for renovation of the Boe Building; the San Juan Economic Development Council, awarded $30,000 to cover this year's salary of the coordinator of the Agricultural Resources Committee (previously paid by the county), and $47,5000 to the Town of Friday Harbor to help offset the costs of replacing a water line on Spring Street.

"I believe all the projects are shovel ready and will happen this year," Henley said.

Authorized a decade ago by the state Legislature, the 2260 fund provides rural counties which plan under the Growth Management Act with a .09 percent kickback on local sales tax receipts and allows that revenue to be distribute to economic development projects sponsored by publicly-owned agencies. To qualify for an award, an agency must also be included as part of a county's economic development plan. Two years ago the legislature bumped up the amount counties could retain from .08 percent to .09 percent, and added an amendment that allows some salaries to be paid through annual distribution of the fund.

The town, in addition to the water-line replacement award, collected $75,000 of 2260 money earlier in the year through its standing receipt of 25 percent of the amount generated annually via the fund. Roughly 28 percent of the 2260 fund is generated by businesses in the town.

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