Press release from the county:
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved and President Obama signed a two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS) through a bill related to Medicare reimbursement rates. Known as the “Doc Fix” bill, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, will provide the County of Humboldt with nearly $867,000 in SRS funding for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015.
“The level of SRS funding we’ve received in recent years has dwindled, but the need to repair our roads has not. While we’ve lacked this funding, our Roads division has stepped up and found ways to do more with less.” said Estelle Fennell, 2nd District Supervisor and Chair of the Board. “Reauthorizing this bill will give us a much-needed shot in the arm, and will help us continue the all-important work of maintaining our roads so that our kids can indeed, rely on safe routes to school.“
SRS funding mitigates the impact to county governments from the reduction of timber harvesting on federal forest lands. Prior to this reauthorization, SRS expired on September 30, 2013, resulting in a loss of funding in 2014 and future years to support critical programs in schools and forested counties across the United States. California’s rural counties have come to rely on SRS funding to support public schools and critical county road programs.
While the Humboldt County region is estimated to receive $1.7 million in SRS funding, roughly half of that will go to local schools.
“SRS funding is critical to California’s rural counties, and we appreciate the reauthorization provided by Congress and the President,” said Lee Adams, Sierra County Supervisor and Chair of Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), of which Humboldt County is a member. “It’s now time to identify a long-term, stable funding source for forested counties and schools to maintain vital programs and avoid interruptions in services and operations.”
The County of Humboldt joins RCRC in applauding Congress and the President in recognizing the importance of SRS funding for California’s rural counties, and looks forward to a collaborative effort on long-term solutions to funding school districts and county road programs in California’s forested counties.