Beaufort County Council extended the county administrator's employment contract by one year Monday and agreed to buy and preserve 88 acres along the New River.
Gary Kubic's contract, which had two years left on it, was extended through 2015.
Council also agreed to buy and protect the Garvey Hall tract in greater Bluffton. Money for the $785,000 purchase came from the Rural and Critical Lands preservation program.
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The one-year employment contract extension was approved unanimously, and at Kubic's request, it does not include an increase in his salary of $172,000 a year.
Kubic, 60, likes living and working in Beaufort County and is pleased to have the "stability" afforded by a three-year contract, he said.
"I am really excited about where I live, the people I work for and the community I serve," he said.
The extension was approved following a "thoroughly positive" performance review last month.
"We all feel (you're) doing an excellent job," Councilman Steve Baer said.
Kubic started as county administrator in early 2004. His original agreement with the county specified that his contract could never be longer than three years.
Terms of the contract allow either County Council or Kubic to sever the deal.
The county is buying an undeveloped tract along the New River, south of the roundabout at S.C. 46 and S.C. 170 in the New Riverside area. Two nearby properties also are protected, raising the possibility of a future passive park or linear trail on the land.
Patty Kennedy, executive director of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, said the parcel offers new recreational opportunities while also protecting crucial animal habitats and the river's sensitive headwaters.
"This was definitely slated for development, so the ability to protect the New River from further degradation is a great opportunity," she said.
The tract is currently owned by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which bought the property in a foreclosure auction. County officials said the purchase price is about 54 percent less than the property's value at foreclosure.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.