The North Central Idaho RAC met by phone to discuss and priortize additiona projects to fund with Title II money if additional funds became available. Minutes of their telephone conference meeting are posted here.
IDAHO FALLS, Id: Bannock, Bear Lake, Bonneville, Caribou, Clark, Franklin, Fremont Madison, Oneida and Teton Counties, along with the Caribou-Targhee National Forests, are seeking to fill positions recently vacated on the Eastern Idaho Resource Advisory Committee (RAC). Committee members work collaboratively through funding with partners to provide long-term watershed benefits in the above counties, restore watershed conditions, provide local jobs, and meet the intent of legislation.
“This group works extraordinarily well together,” said Brent Larson. Larson is the Designated Federal Official responsible for the Eastern Idaho RAC, and is enthusiastic about the committee’s work. “The tremendous amount of respect they hold for each other is exceptional. They are organized and professional. It’s amazing how they effectively allocate roughly $500,000 in the form of watershed restoration and forest management projects each year.”
The Eastern Idaho RAC and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest would like to thank Gerry Bates, Lyn Benjamin and Rick Cheatum for their past service.
The RAC is chartered under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000. The RAC consists of 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.
In a June 7, 2012 decision memo the Secretary of Agriculture reestablished the Secure Rural Schools Act resource advisory committees (RACs) by approving the charter, the addendum listing the committees and a membership balance plan. Lots of background information is available here.
Since October 2011 the six Secure Rural School RACs in Idaho have not operated because their authorization had expired and a new Charter had not yet been approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. Idaho RACs had completed their work by the September 30, 2011 deadline where they made recommendations on projects to use Title II funds.
For the period Sept. 30, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012 RACs have authority to meet and monitor the implementation of the Title II-funded projects. But without the Charter being renewed the RAC could not even meet to have field trips to inspect Title II projects and to interact with one another. With the Charter in place there may be some RACs in Idaho planning a monitoring and inspection event. We will provide information when we hear of such meetings.
In addition to being on the Eastern Idaho RAC, Adena also was appointed to the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee (RACNAC), and advised the Forest Service on the state roadless rule petitions for Idaho and Colorado, and she participated in the RACNAC deliberations and advice on the Idaho Roadless Rule that was adopted in 2008.
Dave Whaley died April 4, 2012. News of his passing was posted in the afternoon at idahostatesman.com. Dave served the past eleven years on the Southwest Idaho RAC, representing organized labor interests. Since 2007 Dave served as Chairman of the Southwest Idaho RAC. He was 54.
As Congress and the Administration wrestle with the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act, the Forest Service has the following to say:
September 30, 2011 is the deadline for Resource Advisory Committees to complete their recommendations on proposed projects that would use Title II funds to improve National Forest resources.
The Secure Rural Schools law included this deadline as part of the reauthorization in the fall of 2008. RACs will continue to have the authority to meet to monitor the implementation of the projects that use Title II funds.
September 30, 2011 is also the deadline for counties and states to submit their allocations between Titles II and III for the upcoming payment.
Some attention is being paid to Idaho RACs. A Sunday June 12 article in the Idaho Statesman describes how the RACs authorized by the Secure Rural Schools law helped promote collaborative relationships among normally adversarial parties. Statesman reporter Rocky Barker interviewed a number of people including RAC members for the article.
Ever wonder how much Title II funding has come to Idaho over the years? The chart below shows how much money has been allocated to each RAC in Idaho since the RACs were established in late 2001.
Over the years the payent formula under PL 106-393 and the decisions of the county officials provided for steady payments and a fairly reliable financial base for RACs to use for making project recommendations. The only bigg change in those years was 2001 to 2002 when additional funds were made available to the Idaho Panhandle RAC after the Shoshone County Commissioners increased their allocation to Title II.
Following the enactment of PL 110-343 the payment to Idaho jumped considerably with substantial benefits to the North Central Idaho RAC, the Central Idaho RAC, and the Eastern Idaho RAC. The Southwest Idaho RAC and Panhandle RAC continued to receive a similar amount of funds. The South Central RAC was appointed as funds became available for that committee to operate.
While Title II funds ballooned to more than $6 million statewide following FY 2008, the most recent payment has dropped by a million dollars in in large part to the total payments coming to Idaho counties dropping ten percent or about $5 million, from roughly $44 million to $39 million. The next two years of payments are scheduled to also drop ten percent per year.