During the month of September 2012 the Southwest Idaho RAC had the challenge of fitting $1,250,000 in project proposals and $736,000 to allocate.
Over two meetings the RAC examined the 31 proposals and found a way to fund 27 of them. Many were partially funded and some did receive full funding. Some details can be found in the September 13 meeting minutes posted here (.pdf). And the chart below is a quick summation of the types of projects proposed and funded.
The Eastern Idaho RAC approved 81 natural resource projects totaling $497,907 during its September 21, 2012 meeting in Idaho Falls. The RAC reviewed a total of 114 projects requesting $999,026 provided by ten Eastern Idaho Counties through the Reauthorization of The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.
“We appreciate the support of Eastern Idaho Counties that provide funding for these projects”, stated Caribou-Targhee Forest Supervisor, Brent Larson. “We also appreciate the members of the East Idaho RAC who volunteer their time to review, discuss and approve these projects.”
Projects must be located on or adjacent to National Forest System lands within the RAC boundaries. The Eastern Idaho RAC includes Read more…
US Forest Service asking states for school funding details More than $300 million to be distributed under Secure Rural Schools program by year’s end
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2012 – The U.S. Forest Service today announced that the Congressional one-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act will mean payments of $308 million to states in support of schools and roads in rural counties.
The Forest Service is now sending letters to each state advising them of the opportunity for counties where national forests are situated to receive a share of the state’s payment based on the July 6 reauthorization.
“Our support of schools and roads in rural communities is one of the many ways the Forest Service is helping to sustain and stimulate economic growth across the country,” said Forest Chief Tom Tidwell. “Opportunity for students and communities in rural America is directly tied to the future prosperity of our nation.”
The one-year reauthorization for Secure Rural Schools includes one additional payment at 95 percent of the 2011 payment level. The formula in the 2008 reauthorization of SRS continues. The Forest Service released the projected payments for each county. Here is a chart showing the Idaho payment projection: Read more…
US Congress included a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools legislation as part of the surface transportation legislation. The post FY 2012 payment will be at 95 percent of the FY 2011 payment. The legislation extends the operative dates in the legislation by one year. This appears to mean that by September 30, 2012 the Resource Advisory Committees will need to complete recommendations of projects using Title II funds.
The exact amount of payment for each county has yet to be calculated. Counties have therefore not yet made elections to allocate payments between Title I, II and III. These details will be worked out in the coming days and weeks. For RAC members the implication is best defined by this clip from the Blues Brothers movie of 1980.
Local road and school systems in counties with National Forests have shared in receipts for more than 100 years. And in the past ten years counties could option to accept payments under a law that established a stable payment to mitigate the loss of timber receipts and year to year changes. The reauthorized Secure Rural Schools Act will have one final payment to counties in February 2012. County officials will decide prior to September 30, 2011 the allocation of their payments between Title I (roads and schools), Title II (Federal forest projects) and Title III (county safety projects).
With an uncertain future it seems an appropriate time as any to look back.
The past ten years has afforded an unusual level of stability for Idaho counties (with a few exceptions) so they could anticipate their future payment. The chart at left shows the payments since 1990, with the first decade showing the year to year changes as the timber market in part drove receipts followed by the decrease in the Forest Service timber program in the latter half of the 1990s. (Click on the chart to see a larger picture).
The second decade includes seven years of the Craig-Wyden Act payments and establishment of Titles II and III. Resource Advisory Committees were established across Idaho to recommend projects using Title II funds.
In early May the Bureau of Economic Analysis released their estimates of county-level per capita personal income, and this piece of data allowed the Forest Service to develop a projection of the upcoming Secure Rural Schools Payment. The final payment will occur around January-February 2012 and is referred to oftentimes as the FY 2011 payment or more accurately as the Post-FY 2011 payment.
The Secure Rural Schools Act authorized four annual payments and programmed a ten percent reduction in each payment compared to previous fiscal year. The ten percent reduction was in the total funds available nationwide, and the acutal payment to a county would depend on the complicated formula in the SRS Act.
The total projected payment for Idaho appears to drop about nine percent, slightly less than the nationwide 10 percent. Last year our state total payments went down 14 percent. You can click on the chart at left to view a full size, more readable version.
The chart at left shows the total payment to Idaho counties over the past four years in red and the theoretical payment in each year if the reduction was a simple ten percent. What happened two years ago was a slightly greater than ten percent reduction. Then last year there was a much greater reduction, at a -14.1% well beyond the ten percent drop. The coming payment will go down about 8.7% percent, and the gap between the red and green decreases a little bit.
There is more to this topic but for now we will just show the statewide projection.