Chapter 5.45
CONSERVATION FUTURES FUND

Sections:

5.45.010    Purpose.

5.45.020    Property tax levy imposed.

5.45.030    Fund established.

5.45.040    Use of fund.

5.45.050    Establishment of a Conservation Futures Program Advisory Board.

5.45.060    Review of tax and funding priorities required.

5.45.070    Severability.

SOURCE:    ADOPTED:

Ord. 958    11/26/19

5.45.010 Purpose.

It is hereby declared to be in the public interest and to be a County purpose to adopt and impose a property tax levy as authorized by RCW 84.34.230 and to create a special fund to which all such levy proceeds shall be credited. The purpose of the fund created is to acquire interest or rights in real property in order to maintain, preserve, conserve and otherwise continue in existence adequate open space lands for the production of food, fiber and forest crops, and to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty for the economic and social well-being of the County and its citizens.

5.45.020 Property tax levy imposed.

Pursuant to RCW 84.34.230, there is hereby imposed a property tax levy to be applied against all taxable property within Clallam County. The levy shall be applied at a rate of two and three-quarter cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

5.45.030 Fund established.

A special fund is hereby established, as provided for under RCW 84.34.230, which shall be known as the conservation futures fund and to which will be credited all taxed levied under this chapter.

5.45.040 Use of fund.

Amounts placed in the conservation futures fund shall be used to acquire rights and interests in farm and agricultural land, open space land, timberland, and public access to water on a voluntary basis, as established in Chapter 84.34 RCW and for the maintenance and operation of any property acquired with these funds. The purpose is to protect, preserve, maintain, improve, restore, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve the property for public use or enjoyment. Included are debt issuances and debt service costs related to bond monies and repayment in instances where bonds are issued to further these purposes. Until withdrawn for such use, the monies accumulated in the fund may be invested in interest-bearing securities. It shall be the joint responsibility of the Clallam County Treasurer and the County Auditor to account for all aspects of this fund. Any money remaining in the fund upon fund closure shall be transferred as directed by the Board of County Commissioners.

5.45.050 Establishment of a Conservation Futures Program Advisory Board.

Effective January 1, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners shall appoint a Conservation Futures Program Advisory Board to implement the provisions of this chapter. The Advisory Board shall recommend to the Board of County Commissioners criteria for selection of the projects to be funded. The Advisory Board shall also make annual or more frequent recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners for projects to be funded as part of the conservation futures program and shall develop strategic, long-term plans for the program. All recommendations of the Program Advisory Board shall be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for final action.

The Advisory Board shall consist of five voting members, with one voting member from each of the respective County Commissioner Districts and two at-large members, with expertise and experience in the areas of farming and agriculture, family forestry, or natural resource conservation. Nonvoting ex officio members include the North Olympic Land Trust Director or designee, the Clallam Conservation District Director or designee, the Clallam County Habitat Biologist or designee, the WSU Extension Agent, and representatives from one or more tribal governments. Terms of the Advisory Board members shall be limited to four years. Initial terms shall be staggered so that no more than 33 percent of the board members’ terms shall expire in any year.

5.45.060 Review of tax and funding priorities required.

All monies collected during the initial 10-year period shall be expended for the conservation of farm and agricultural land.

No later than December 31, 2030, and every 10 years thereafter, the Board of County Commissioners shall hold a public hearing to consider public input regarding the continued need for the tax collected pursuant to RCW 84.34.230. The Advisory Board shall submit a report to the Board of Commissioners, which includes an accounting of all funds collected and expended as well as recommendations for future funding priorities. After the public hearing, the Board of Commissioners shall determine whether to continue collecting the tax, whether to change the rate of the tax, or whether to repeal the tax. The Board of Commissioners will also set funding priorities. The Board of Commissioners shall consider, among other things, whether there is a continued need for funding, whether alternative funding sources exist and are adequate, and the success of past projects.

Any changes to this chapter must be made pursuant to the process set forth in the Clallam County Home Rule Charter.

5.45.070 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter, or its application to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances, is not affected.