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February 14, 2013 8:52 am

EDITORIAL: County’s windfall welcome this year

Written by Ilene Olson

The federal government giveth, and it taketh away.

Park County recently received news of a windfall totaling more than $767,000 from the federal government — $585,000 more than had been expected.

The money comes through a fund that reimburses counties for timber production and other money-generating forest uses that have dwindled with increased protections on national forests. Despite its name, most of the money from the federal Secure Rural Schools program will help pay for needed road work around the county.

That was good news for county leaders, who expected this year’s fiscal budget to dip into reserves by more than $250,000 due to a recent settlement with West Park Hospital and Powell Valley Healthcare over bills the county hadn’t paid for involuntary commitments.

But the Wyoming County Commissioners Association warns that the gain is short-term only.

Congress paid for the Secure Rural Schools program, and another one known as Payment in Lieu of Taxes, by taking $700 million worth of Abandoned Mine Land clean-up funds that had been promised to the state of Wyoming.

Congress used Wyoming’s AML money to provide payments for those programs for just one year to counties across the country, so it’s difficult to say whether Park County — or any other county — will see any payments of that type again. And, Wyoming won’t have the AML money to distribute to counties, either.

Considering those factors, as well as and Congress’ lack of ability to find solutions for the country’s ongoing fiscal problems, the Park County Commission would be wise to plan future budgets without including those funds, as it did this year.

Who knows whether the federal government will keep its promises next year.

2 comments

  • Comment Link February 14, 2013 12:25 pm posted by clipstein

    one solution--quit wasting taxpayers money... plain and simple live within your means......past time for the people to get rid of those wasting and that includes our employees...... and maybe find media that will tell the truth

  • Comment Link February 15, 2013 6:51 am posted by MIKE

    I live in what used to be S. Oregon timber country, still is I suppose but our county services struggle severely from severely reduced timber receipts. Subsidies is all the state really wants now.welfare essentially!

    Oregon has/is going down the tubes mannn.
    Yeah!! Wyoming and Powell, Cody area.

    This is a BIG, BIG problem out here guys!

    I plan to leave after seeing this state's decline for the past 23 years. Put my wealth and skills to work for a state that gives a darn with tax dollars.

    Guys think Wyoming's got problems? There's probably ineffectivity and such there but we're super-saturated in PC, BS, touchy-feely, tax it, subsidize it, regulate it, stop cutting the good stuff, layoffs lifestyle here in Oregon.

    Wyoming rocks!

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