EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson said Tuesday that 2009 was a “horrible” fiscal year for Lane County.
He said cuts in federal timber payments and state revenue stripped $14 million from the county budget, forcing deep cuts in public services.
Sorenson made his remarks during the State of the County address at Harris Hall in downtown Eugene.
Sorenson and Commissioner Bill Fleenor, who also spoke at the event, said the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act – a federal law that steers millions of dollars to counties hard-hit by the decline in timber harvests – is vital for the fiscal health of Lane County.
They called on Oregon’s congressional delegation to set up their efforts to renew the law, which expires in 2012.
“Without these stable timber payments, in lieu of the traditional harvest revenues, your county’s ability to provide critical life protection services, such as jail beds and safe roads, will be radically degraded,” Fleenor said.
After the speech, the Lane County Board of Commissioners unanimously elected Fleenor to serve as board chair. In another unanimous vote, the board elected Commissioner Rob Handy to serve as Vice Chair.