May 15, 2019 11:20 a.m.
Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman said he wants to clarify the announcement that just over $30 million is coming to western Oregon counties from the Interior Department.
Freeman told News Radio 1240 KQEN he is “grateful” for the money, but said the funds are for the current fiscal year which will conclude at the end of June. Freeman said the distribution was expected but was late due in part to the partial shutdown of the federal government a few months ago.
Freeman said Douglas County will receive just over $8 million. Most of that is Title One funding which Freeman said will go to the county’s general fund. Just over $600,000 is Title Three funding which is restricted for use in specific areas.
Freeman noted that the Secure Rural Schools Program was reauthorized about a year and a half ago but expired October 1st of last year.
He said the county had to dip into reserves this fiscal year because the amount of the SRS is far less than needed to provide services. Freeman said the county has been spending reserves every year starting in 2012, He said while the commissioners have been able to reduce the amount being taken from the reserves, they are still having to spend more than is coming in, as they try to balance service needs versus revenue.
Freeman spoke to KQEN from the Western Interstate Region conference of the National Association of Counties, which is happening in Spokane, Washington. He said he is there working on federal land issues.