Treasurer Tammy Peterson reported a high market has created a windfall of unanticipated revenue for the county and other branches of local government.
The county expected $1.1 million in revenue from the sale of timber off state-managed trust timberland, but the actual total will be closer to $1.7 million.Timber sold from private timberland is also being sold at high prices, and the collection of timber excise tax has already passed the expected total for the year.
"We predicted $697,000," Peterson said, "and $755,000 has already arrived, and we have one more quarter to go in the year."
The extra excise timber tax revenue is distributed according to a formula, Peterson said. After the county receives an extra share, school districts are next in line, and then smaller taxing districts.
The county's Capital Improvement Fund will benefit from the sale of a large holding of private timberland, Peterson added.
In other business, Sheriff Mark Howie introduced Johnny Mason, who has been hired as a deputy sheriff. Mason grew up in Cathlamet and attended schools here.
Howie added that the hiring means the department has personnel in four of the five budgeted deputy sheriff positions. Howie said he hopes to hire another deputy soon; meanwhile, existing staff and reserve officers are making patrols.
The department has been busy, Howie said. This past weekend, officers arrested a teenage boy responsible for thousands of dollars in vandalism and tagging in the past three weeks. The department's marine patrol boat has rescued two distressed boaters on the Columbia, and the crew rescued a group of hikers stranded by rising tides downriver from Skamokawa.
Commission Chair Blair Brady reported the county is preparing to submit an application for a zero interest, eight-year loan for state funds to cover an estimated $1.1 million shortfall in funds to construct a new county ferry and modify approaches to accommodate it.
Today (Thursday), Brady and Public Works Director Pete Ringen will travel to Olympia for a special meeting of the County Road Administration Board to apply for other funds that would reduce the shortfall by perhaps $250,000.
"It's looking favorable," Brady said. "The staff report to board members was for a recommendation to award the funding.
"We have enough money with county road and federal road funds to cover the cost, if we have to," Brady said. "We do need a new ferry. It's a lifeline for this county and for Oregon."
Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Brady to the Washington State Forensic Investigation Council.
The 12-member council's goal is "to make death investigation an integrated, efficient system in the state of Washington."
The council will preserve and enhance the state crime laboratory, and preserve and enhance the death investigation system across the state.