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Stories Added - November 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Courthouse security system postponed
San Jacinto News- Times - November 2008
COLDSPRING – A security system for the San Jacinto County Courthouse was discussed by commissioners’ court last Wednesday. Although a vote was not taken on the regular agenda item, commissioners were told by Judge Protem Royce Wells to check out the security system at the Polk County Courthouse for a good idea if what San Jacinto County could have by utilizing the Homeland Security Funds to install the same system. “They even caught people selling drugs outside the courthouse using their surveillance system,” Wells said. The agenda item was postponed pending more information and a proposal to install the surveillance system from Advantage Security Integration. Commissioners voted to accept the state payment option for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS Act). The public law was enacted to provide fi ve years of transitional assistance to rural counties affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal lands. The last payment authorized was for FY 2006. The new law contains a complex new payment formula and other signifi cant changes. Among the signifi cant changes are the elements of Title I that have been amended, but Titles II and III remain mostly intact with a few important changes. Counties will have to elect the kind of payment they will receive. San Jacinto County elected to accept the state payment option. More than $500 million for FY 2008 will be available to 41 states and Puerto Rico for improvements to public schools, road maintenance and stewardship projects under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS Act). For initial Forest Service implementation of payments to states under the new law, critical deadlines must be met by states and counties to ensure timely 2008 payments. Each state must submit the following information to the Forest Service by November 14, 2008: (1) each county’s election to receive a share of the state payment under SRS, or a share of the state’s 25- percent payment; and (2) for each county that elects to receive a share of the state SRS payment, the county’s allocations for projects. Counties in states that receive transition payments must also make these elections and allocations. State payments for fi scal year 2008 will be issued no later than January 15, 2009. Commenting on the SRS reauthorization and the FS implementation plan, U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell said, “The reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act represents renewed and, in many cases, new opportunities, for counties, Resource Advisory Committees, and National Forests to work together to maintain infrastructure, improve the health of watersheds and ecosystems, protect communities, and strengthen local economies. We look forward to collaborating with communities to fully implement the Act.” Since 1908, 25 percent of Forest Service revenues, such as those from timber sales, mineral resources and grazing fees, have been returned to states in which national forest lands are located. The original SRS Act (P.L. 106-393) was enacted to provide assistance to rural counties affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests in federal lands. The funds have been used for schools and roads as well as to create employment opportunities, to maintain current infrastructure, and to improve the health of watersheds and ecosystems.