BROOKINGS, ORE– The Association of O&C Counties has asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Oregon’s congressional delegation to ensure correction of a costly mistake made by the BLM in the calculation of O&C timber receipts that were distributed to counties earlier this year. The correction is necessary if counties are to avoid significant reductions to critical public services. The BLM “sequestered” almost $1.4 million from the FFY 2016 county share of funds under the Budget Control Act, which the counties believe is illegal.
“O&C counties are entitled to these revenues, which are critically important for our county governments to continue providing essential public services,” said Douglas County Commissioner and AOCC President Tim Freeman. “These payments are required under federal law, they are not discretionary and not subject to sequestration under Budget Control Act. We urge the quick action of Interior Secretary Zinke and Oregon’s congressional delegation to address this issue and help prevent unnecessary county budget reductions.”
AOCC sent letters to Secretary Zinke and Oregon’s congressional delegation requesting prompt action. Eighteen counties in western Oregon receive 50 percent of timber receipts generated from harvests that occur on the 2.1 million acres of O&C lands managed by the BLM. The 50 percent share of O&C timber receipts for FFY 2016 was calculated to be $20.2 million. The distribution to counties was received January 11, but it was $1.4 million less than expected. The BLM said it was required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to “sequester” 6.9 percent of the Counties’ share of the O&C timber receipts.