County Requests Continued Secure Rural Schools Funding

Johnson County's Commissioners approved Chairman Bill Novotny to sign a letter to lawmakers in Washington, DC asking for continued funding of the Safe Rural Schools (SRS) Program for Fiscal year 2016.

Federal SRS payments provide funding to more than 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools in the nation, replacing declining revenues from reduced timber harvest from National Forest lands within the county's borders that have been steadily declining in recent years.

The SRS funding helps replace those lost funds.

The commissioners approved the chair to send letters to Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), co-sponsors of the bill to reauthorize the SRS Funds for 2016, encouraging them to push for continued funding, and to send copies of the letter to Wyoming's US Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso.

Johnson County's share of the funding would be roughly $30,000 according to discussions at the meeting.

Commissioner Jim Hicks suggested they keep an eye on the status of future PILT (Payments In Lieu of Taxes) funds as well.
Those funds are paid to counties by the Federal Government on federal lands that are not taxable by local governments, but create a need for governmental services such as law enforcement or infrastructure. Future funding is in question.

Johnson County's share of PILT Funding was roughly $894,000 in 2014.