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Politics & Government

Senate Renews County Timber Payments

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The U.S. Senate Tuesday approved a renewal of timber payments to rural counties. The two-year extension is expected to bring 85 million dollars to Oregon. The bill is on its way to the President's desk and he's expected to sign it.

Lane County spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis says the county expects to receive about 6 million dollars for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. She says the renewal of Secure Rural Schools funding is welcome news. But since 2008, the county's share of federal timber payments has gone down 73 percent. Levis says budget planners want to use the money wisely.

Levis: "As we have been thinking that this may come through, we've been looking at our budget and looking at using these funds to pay off one-time expenses, things like debt, to pay down our debt so we can free up more general funds."

Lane County is asking voters this May to approve a vehicle registration fee to pay for road maintenance and repairs. The county has been putting off road work because of continuing budget shortfalls.

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