$7.017 million for FY14: County sees 8.5 percent drop in SRS allocation

Idaho County will be allocated $7.017 million this year, part of $300 million-plus to be paid nationwide through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self-Determination Act.

That amount is 8.5 percent less — $652,394 — than what the county received for its FY2013 payment.

Allocated by Congress, SRS payments are used for supporting public schools and public roads, for projects to help maintain and improve the health of forests, and for county projects including “Firewise Communities” programs.

Not figured into this year’s $7.017 million allocation for Idaho County was $610,234 in SRS Title II funds, which are held in a special U.S. Treasury account to fund approved national forests projects for conservation work identified by resource advisory committees (RAC).

According to information released last Friday, April 4, Idaho County will receive $7,017,696.68 for fiscal year 2014 based on 4,439,483 total acres from six national forests — Bitterroot, Payette, Wallowa-Whitman, Salmon, Nez Perce and Clearwater — within its jurisdiction. The average payment per acre is $1.58, which is down by 15 cents from 2013.

The largest share of this payment is from the Nez Perce: 2.223 million acres, $3.514 million; followed by the Clearwater: 874,374 acres, $1.382 million; Payette: 805,821, $1.273 million; Bitterroot: 467,536 acres, $739.055; Salmon: 66,113 acres, $104,507; and Wallowa-Whitman: 2,053 acres, $3,245.

Of Idaho County’s $7.017 million SRS allocation, $6.483 million is Title I funding, used for roads and schools, and $533,955 is Title III funding, used for community fire protection programs and also reimbursement for search and rescue/emergency services performed on the national forests.

For Idaho as a whole, $25.203 million (not counting Title II funds totaling $3.109 million) was awarded for FY14 on a total 20.396 million acres at an average payment per acre of $1.24.

In 2000, Congress passed “safety net payments” to compensate counties for declines in timber sale receipts; these have been periodically reauthorized with the last one-year extension approved in 2013.

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