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Placer County aids 80-acre land-trust purchase near Auburn

Johnston property includes future trail link with other Placer Land Trust parcels
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Placer County supervisors approved $125,000 in county funding Tuesday for the Auburn-based Placer Land Trust to buy and preserve an oak-studded, 80-acre parcel north of Auburn. The county?s funding will be combined with a $350,000 Caltrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program grant to purchase the land. Mark Rideout, Facility Services Department deputy director, said the purchase would continue a partnership with the land trust that has secured and preserved a total of 2,500 acres in the Auburn Valley area, north of Auburn. The parcel, called the Johnston property, is south of the Harvego Bear River Preserve. In 2010, the land trust acquired the title to the 1,775-acre preserve, formerly Bruin Ranch. The county contributed $5 million of the $9.5 million total cost. Long-term plans are for a connector trail through preserved lands that would link the Harvego site on the Bear River to the county?s Hidden Creek Regional Park. ?It?s been a great partnership with the Placer Land Trust,? Rideout said. Supervisor Jim Holmes, a North Auburn resident, said the 80-acre purchase is an opportunity for the county to lock in land to be enjoyed by future generations. Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the expenditure from the county?s open-space trust fund, with 5th District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery absent. ?At a time when there has been a downturn in the economy, Placer County has been benefiting with these purchases,? Holmes said. In other board business: - Supervisors approved a rise in jail booking fees recommended by the Placer County Sheriff?s Office by $32 to $328. The cost would be applied to defendants at sentencing. - A contract was awarded to Donald Hays Trail Contractor for $157,491 for trail construction at Hidden Falls Regional Park. - The county?s chief psychiatrist, Dr. Olga Ignatowitz, was awarded a new contract that calls for direct compensation of $333,056 and a total compensation package that is not to exceed $396,970. - A new contract agreement was approved with Beverly Lewis to manage the Placer-Lake Tahoe Film Office. Total contract cost will be $164,007, which includes $69,970 in annual salary plus an estimated $35,092 in benefits. A further $58,945 is earmarked for program operation costs and expenses. - Supervisors approved $2,500 in revenue-sharing funding for the annual 4th of July celebration in Auburn organized by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. The request for funding was made by 3rd District Supervisor Jim Holmes.