Borough expects $190K payment
The Haines Borough is expecting to receive about $190,000 in Secure Rural Schools funding, according to borough manager Mark Earnest.
Funding for the program – a carryover of a program intended to buoy communities in the wake of the downturn in the Northwest timber economy – is contained in legislation reauthorizing the federal helium reserve program, according to Sebastian O’Kelly, a consultant for the borough’s Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm.
“The bill… includes a section extending the SRS program for another year and is paid for through the proceeds of federal helium sales. It is on its way to the President and he will sign it. So Haines’ payment will go out as normal in January,” O’Kelly wrote.
Receipt of payments in lieu of taxes, another source of annual, federal funding, is still uncertain. The borough most recently received $366,573 in payments in lieu of taxes. The money is paid to municipalities with boundaries that include untaxable, federal lands.
Earnest said the money should go back into the borough budget to cover a $352,000 “budgeted deficit” in the areawide general fund. “We don’t want to budget something we won’t necessarily have money for in the future. We don’t want to build up expectations unnecessarily.”