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County to amend budget
A nearly $1.6 million budget amendment that is largely a housekeeping measure will be the subject of an Island County public hearing in Coupeville next week.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the commissioners hearing room, 1 NE Sixth St.
Action is expected to be taken by the Island County Commissioners following public comment.
The budget amendment is the result of five properties on Central Whidbey — totaling about 90 acres — that were protected this past December with conservation easements brokered by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.
All the easements were purchased with a combination of county, state and federal grant money along with donations from private landowners. Collectively, they amounted to more than $1.9 million.
Although all the money was secured by the land trust, the county is holding many of the easements and that requires the funds to be accounted for in the 2012 budget, according to Island County Budget Director Elaine Marlow.
"It's pass through money," she said.
The budget amendment will include about $1.6 million of the total. The difference, $354,000 of Conservation Futures Fund money, has already been accounted for in the budget, she said.
Each of the properties are located within Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, are used solely for agriculture and were identified as critical areas for the protection of scenic view sheds.
Participating landowners included the Pickard, Engle and Brown families in the Coupeville area, and Judy Lynn whose property is located on the north side of Penn Cove.