Clallam County considers use of historic preservation funds

Official: About $130,000 might remain

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners are considering how much of the recently discovered historic preservation funds, which the county had collected for 15 years, should be used for internal purposes.

Mark Lane, Clallam County chief financial officer, told commissioners during a work session last Monday that after reviewing expenses, the county might have only about $130,000 left of the $220,000 that he said the county might have had in historic preservation money during a work session last month.

The county has been collecting $1 per document recorded in the Auditor’s Office since the law was approved in 2005 to be used at the discretion of the commissioners to promote historic preservation and historical programs. That has amounted to about $15,000 each year.

Lane — the county’s first chief financial officer, who has been on the job for three months — began looking into the funding stream at the request of Commissioner Mark Ozias, who said the executive director of Sequim Museum and Arts Center, Judy Reandeau Stipe, had been asking him for “several years” about how museums could access the funding.

Ozias suggested last Monday that the county should consider maintaining a balance that could be used for internal projects.

“As I’ve been thinking about this it makes a certain amount of sense to maintain the ability to utilize some of these funds internally,” Ozias said.

“Given the fact that we’ve got a fund balance and an ongoing revenue stream, there’s certainly the potential to be more creative in thinking about how to deploy this.”

Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth Stanley told commissioners she sought to find regulations on what is considered “historic preservation,” but was unable to do so.

She said officials at the Municipal Research and Services Center said the law is so unclear that they resorted to Googling the terms in the law.

“They said use the plain language … that county commissioners have the discretion to promote historical preservation or historic programs,” she said.

Lane said he identified two projects that the county spent General Fund dollars on that could be considered uses of the historic preservation funds.

That includes the 2010 remodel of the historic section of the Courthouse and improvements at the Salt Creek bunker site.

“We could conduct a forensic audit going back to 2005,” Lane said. “Rather than go that approach, I took the approach of identifying our major historic preservation initiatives.”

Lane suggested the county set a minimum reserve for the preservation funds.

The county has known about the funding for several years.

Ozias said the county needs to determine its internal needs before designing a process to disperse the funds for historic preservation projects in the community.

There was discussion about whether the Heritage Advisory Committee could be involved in the process for dispersing funds into the community, but Ozias said he wants to hear about county needs first.

He said it might be possible that the county’s Parks, Fair and Facilities Department could easily find historic preservation projects.

“If that’s the case, then we would at least be forced to question: do we want to allocate these internally as we have been — with better tracking — or do we want to intentionally deploy some of the dollars into the community,” Ozias said.

He said that when a public process is developed, the county needs to recognize it would only be looking at dispersing up to $15,000 per year.

“We want to develop a process that’s not overly onerous,” he said.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Recall petitions dismissed

Judge cites petitioner’s lack of standing

Clallam Transit awarded $3.6M grant

Agency plans to replace several buses in its fleet

Western hemlock could provide housing option

Mill processing trees, removing moisture content

Abbot Construction’s crew responsible for crane lifting the two-story concrete walls pack up as new crew members move in for steel reinforcement on Monday. (Elijah Sussman/Peninsula Daily News)
Jefferson Healthcare adding capacity, programs

Expanded services to be offered upon 2025 opening

Port Townsend to host planning event

The city of Port Townsend and SCJ Alliance will… Continue reading

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Siena Vo, 2, of Da Nang, Vietnam roams through a lavender field at B & B Family Farm on Wednesday near Carlsborg.
Lavender star of weekend fest

Plethora of activities set for annual event

August primary ballots mailed

Races to be narrowed to top two candidates

David Faber.
Ethics complaint names Port Townsend mayor

18-page document details four points

Port Angeles City Council approves clean energy grant

City OKs lodging tax request, bed and breakfast ordinance

A kayker makes his way between the pilings of a former floating log yard near the entrance to Port Angeles Boat Haven. Pleasant conditions and calm waters are expected across most of the North Olympic Peninsula through the coming weekend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Passing through

A kayker makes his way between the pilings of a former floating… Continue reading

Law enforcement officers arrest a man who allegedly led a high-speed chase from Port Angeles to Sequim along U.S. Highway 101 on Wednesday. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Man arrested following chase on U.S. Highway 101

Law enforcement officers arrested a man following a high-speed chase… Continue reading

Drought response activated on three water systems

Clallam County Public Utility District No. 1 has announced a… Continue reading