Clallam County to set up a revenue committee

County officials want input from junior districts

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County receives millions in state and federal revenue annually for the good of both the county itself and its junior taxing districts. So the county commissioners are establishing a revenue advisory committee to get input from those local governments receiving the money.

A resolution formally establishing the committee will be considered at the commissioners’ next regular Tuesday meeting, set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners’ meeting room in the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

“The first meeting we are just talking about how are revenues determined for each of the junior taxing districts,” Commissioner Randy Johnson said. “Now some people may know that, but I would be almost willing to bet that a lot of money that not everyone involved does know that.

“For the first meeting, I’ve asked all three of the (state Department of Natural Resources) representatives to be here,” Johnson said.

DNR’s Olympic Region (Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties) representatives are District Manager Gary Bell, Anne Favolise and Rawley Davis.

The committee will advise the county commissioners on issues related to state timber management, fiduciary responsibilities, trends, public engagement with state and federal forest management agencies and issues impacting timber management and revenues.

In federal fiscal year 2022, Clallam County received $923,812 in federal Secure Rural Schools money, which funds three categories: roads and schools, projects on federal lands and county projects.

In federal fiscal year 2021, Clallam County received $1,146,313 in what are known as payments in lieu of taxes, since the federal government doesn’t pay taxes on the land it owns. It helps local governments fund services such as firefighting, police protection, public schools and roads construction and search and rescue operations.

DNR manages certain state forest lands in trust for the benefit of Clallam County and its junior taxing districts and receives most of its revenue from timber sales and other revenue-producing activities.

The total statewide revenue for the 2021-2023 biennium was $537 million. The forecasted state revenue for the 2023-2025 biennium is $531 million.

So far the committee has 15 representatives and 13 alternates. They represent five school districts, five fire districts, the North Olympic Library System, Olympic Medical Center, Port of Port Angeles and William Shore Memorial Pool District in addition to the county.

Commissioner Mike French said four to six vacancies, including alternates, remain. Among them are the Quillayute Valley Parks and Recreation District that manages the Forks area pool and Clallam County Fire District 1 (Forks).

“It looks like the committee is forming really nicely,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said. “I would like after the committee forms and has its first meeting or two and starts to get its feet underneath it, I think it would be helpful to maybe look out over the first six months to a year to try to sketch out what the agenda ought to be.

“What kind of presentations and what kind of information is going to be necessary? What are the most important conversations for that group to have?” he said.

Johnson said the committee would be subject to providing public notice of its meetings and all other public records and meetings laws.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@peninsuladailynews.com.

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