Garfield County to receive nearly $227,000 in National Forest Reserve payments |

Garfield County to receive nearly $227,000 in National Forest Reserve payments

Funds go to local public schools, emergency services

Garfield County expects to receive $226,979 in National Forest Reserve payments for the year 2020 — money this year that will go to local public schools and emergency management services.

The annual allocation to Garfield County represents an increase of $2,717 from the prior year, according to a county press release.

Also referred to as the Secure Rural Schools Act, the federal revenue-sharing program is funded by leases and timber receipts from national forests located within the counties.

According to the release, the fund is designed to benefit local public schools and public county roads that run through national forests. The money can also go toward emergency services, such as search and rescue, law enforcement and fire services.

“Historically, Garfield County has opted to grant 100% of what could be allocated to the road and bridge fund to local public schools,” the release states.

Three representatives from each of the local school districts and the county form a panel each year to determine how those funds are distributed. County representatives include Commissioner Mike Samson, County Manager Kevin Batchelder and Finance Director Theresa Wagenman.

The funding is allocated by statute into Title I ($209,708) and Title III ($17,270) categories. The former envisions a minimum of 25% for the county’s road and bridge fund and another 25% to local public schools. The latter is for emergency services, Wagenman explained.

“We do have some regulations on how those funds can be spent,” Wagenman said in the release. “We can elect to allocate less than the 25% share and redirect those funds to the school districts within the county.”

This year, the Title III funds are being deposited into the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office emergency management operating budget.

In addition, the usual county and school district panel will be formed to determine the Title I allocations, according to the release.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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