ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A revised formula is in place to provide federal school and road construction aid for rural towns hurt by a drop in timber harvests on federal lands.
President Clinton has signed legislation cosponsored by Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, that guarantees a certain annual payment for communities receiving federal timber receipts.
The towns can choose to receive an annual payment that equals the average payment of their highest three years over the past 15 years, or they can receive federal aid based on the actual level of timber receipts.
Murkowski said the downturn in timber harvests over the past eight years has meant a sharp drop in money for schools and roads in towns near federal lands. The law offsets the loss to the local tax base because of federal land ownership.
Alaska should gain about $10 million for fiscal 2001, he said. That compares to the little more than $2 million that Alaska communities received this year.
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