POLK COUNTY — The Association of O&C Counties is asking the Bureau of Land Management for a correction in the amount of O&C timber receipts sent to 18 Western Oregon counties in January.
The correction could mean almost $1.4 million total could be added to the nearly $19 million paid to counties, including $30,000 more to Polk County.
The association believes the BLM applied the Congressional Budget Control Act inappropriately when it “sequestered” the $1.4 million, which amounts to 6.9 percent.
“O&C counties are entitled to these revenues, which are critically important for our county governments to continue providing essential public services,” said Tim Freeman, Douglas County Commissioner and AOCC president, in a press release.
Polk is one of 18 counties that receive 50 percent of timber receipts from harvests on 2.1 million acres of O&C lands the BLM manages in Oregon. This year, Polk County received $406,132 in timber receipt funding.
The BLM said the law, passed in 2011, requires the sequester. AOCC has a different interpretation, saying the sequester only applies to discretionary spending. Timber receipts, required by the O&C (Oregon & California) Lands Act of 1937, are not discretionary, according to the AOCC.
AOCC sent a letter to the Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Oregon’s Congressional delegation requesting the correction.
“Some O&C counties are in desperate need of these funds,” said Simon Hare, Josephine County Commissioner and AOCC vice president. “Correcting the BLM’s error will recover not only the almost $1.4 million sequestered this year, it will prevent the withholding of similar or greater amounts in future years.”