The Warren County Commissioners decided to take a percentage of timber receipts on the county's portion of the Allegheny National Forest instead of Secure Rural Schools funding during their Wednesday morning meeting.
Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco said the amount distributed to the county through the Secure Rural Schools funding has been "significantly" declining over the years.
"Actually moreso to Warren County than the other counties around us," he said.
He estimated the total amount of funds from timber receipts between $865,000 and $865,000 and the Secure Rural Schools funds at nearly $756,000.
Commissioner John Bortz said the county first received an allocation through the Secure Rural Schools option in 2004, and it was about three years ago a portion of the funds coming to Warren County were then split with the Resource Advisory Council.
The decision is for a one-year period to accept the timber receipts that have historically used to offset 911 and emergency management activities.
"The last time we addressed this it was for a four-year period of time," Bortz said. "If I'm informed correctly, this may be the very last time Secure Rural Schools Funding is even going to be on the table."
Vanco heard a report from the Allegheny Forest Alliance and had a dialogue with the Warren County School District's board of directors earlier in the month.
The county's municipalities and the school district are confident they will see more dollars if the commissioners select the 25 percent of receipts option.
Vanco said he has been in touch with neighboring counties regarding their decisions. Forest County's SRS funds have expanded significantly to an amount above $1 million and McKean County is going to stay with 25 percent in timber receipts.
Because of the state prison in Marienville, Forest County will receive more dollars through SRS because it has a high percentage of its population that is poor.
Bortz said a continuous challenge faced by the Allegheny National Forest to perform timber cuts has been establishing a "speficic line item allocation within their respective budgets to administer all the activities that go along with the timber cut."
"If there is no money to perform administrative functions for cutting, there is virtually no cutting," he said.
"I hope we did the right thing," Vanco said.