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Timber funds return to Clallam County

Sequim Gazette staff

Clallam County will receive more than $800,000 in redistributed timber tax funds as part of the budget signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire on May 2.

 

The budget includes $10 million for 20 timber counties in Washington. Checks soon will be distributed to the counties.

 

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages more than 500,000 acres of state forestlands on behalf of 20 counties, including Clallam County, mostly in western Washington. Much of the acreage was deeded by the counties to the state’s care in the early 20th century after the lands were heavily logged and abandoned by private owners, said Bryan Flint, DNR director of communication and outreach, in a news release.

 

In 2011, those forestlands generated $96 million in non-tax revenue distributed to those counties from the Forest Development Account, he said. After the $10 million is distributed, the FDA still will have a six-month reserve for operations and DNR will use 21 percent of the revenue to manage natural resources sales, plant trees after timber harvests, protect clean water and restore habitat on those lands, Flint said.

 

“I am grateful to the Legislature and the governor for including this badly needed money in the budget,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Counties need this assistance to help pay for vital services such as libraries and law enforcement. Government services at every level are feeling the pinch and we are fortunate that we can provide a little relief.”

 

Distribution of the $10 million is based on the 10-year average of each county’s revenue from state forestlands. Counties receiving the money will use it in their budgeting processes and DNR will have no influence on how the funds will be used.

 

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