Montana Counties Still Waiting for $21 Million in SRS Funds
Many Montana County Commissioners breathed a sigh of relief when the Secure Rural Schools Self-Determination Act weaved its way through Congress in late April. Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chillcott says the bill will direct hundreds of thousands of dollars toward local infrastructure.
"The President signed a bill that included the Secure Rural Schools Community Self Determination Act funding allocation," said Chilcott. "For Ravalli, that will mean about 675,000 dollars that will go to our road department, the balance of $1,020,000 will be going to the schools."
SRS funding failed to make it through congress last year, and counties adjacent to federal land were forced to adjust to a 1910 law that was designed to reimburse counties by sharing a percentage of timber sales and other types of harvesting that has become rarer and rarer in federal forests. Chilcott explains just how big the difference would have been.
"For Ravalli County it dropped us from roughly $700,000 in the SRS funding, which is an average of what we were receiving in the 70s and 80s," Chilcott said. "It dropped us from that level to about $13,000."
The Secure Rural Schools Self-Determination Act will pump nearly 21 million dollars into Montana Counties. According to Chilcott the State is still waiting for the Federal Government to disburse the funds.