Lincoln County set to receive $4.10 million

Print Article

Lincoln County will soon receive $4.1 million in payments from the U.S. Forest Service, thanks to reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools program.

Approximately two-thirds of that amount will go into the county’s road budget, with the remainder going to local school districts, according to Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Bennett.

Under the SRS program, created by Congress in 2000, the Forest Service compensates county governments with forested federal land for revenue lost due to dropping timber production. These funds are intended for schools and other critical services, such as roads and law enforcement.

In Lincoln County, SRS funds support schools and roads.

The program expired in September 2015, but was reauthorized in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill lawmakers passed in March.

County officials do not see the money — a retroactive Fiscal Year 2017 payment expected to arrive any day — as a windfall.

“It’s a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed,” said Commissioner Mark Peck.

Peck was referring to the county’s dwindling road fund reserves. It currently stands at roughly $12 million, down from a high of over $20 million.

Earlier this year, the county began looking for ways to reduce its annual $3 million road budget to extend the reserves and buy time to find a long-term funding solution.

County Administrator Darren Coldwell asked the roads department to reduce its budget to $2 million, and has floated the idea of a levy.

Currently, Lincoln County is one of only two counties in Montana — the other is Mineral County — that does not impose a road tax upon its residents.

“Our focus will still be to lessen the county budget,” Coldwell said. “This (payment) isn’t Christmas morning.”

Last year the Commission also began reconsidering the plowing of snow from certain roads to save time and money.

The commissioners also approved a new snow removal policy and ordinance.

The Daily Inter Lake contributed to this report.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Photos: Preparing for Libby’s two chainsaw events

September 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News ...

Comments

Read More

Troy Council approves dispensary in city limits

September 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News In a packed meeting that required additional chairs brought in, the Troy City Council on Wednesday heard public comment and discussed the ins and outs of permitting the medical marijuana dispensary A...

Comments

Read More

Gold Hill fire returns to local control

September 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News By JOHN BLODGETT The Western News The Gold Hill fire reached another milestone 6 p.m. Thursday when the Libby District of the Kootenai National Forest took over fire command from Mike Almas’ Nort...

Comments

Read More

Libby sets fees for chicken permits, business licenses

September 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News By JOHN BLODGETT The Western News The Libby City Council on Sept. 17 unanimously passed Resolution No. 1930, setting fees for three items the City of Libby administers. A permit to keep chickens...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 293-4124
311 California Ave.
Libby, MT 59923

©2018 The Western News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X