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May 8, 2018

Tester Revives Critical Support for Counties, MT Reaps $14 Million in Rewards

Senator’s Success in Reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools Program Pays Off Big for Montana

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(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester just hauled in more than $14 million to help fund critical county-run services like law enforcement, schools, and roads across Montana. The funding comes from the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) initiative, which Tester just revived after Congress let the program expire in 2015. Not only did Tester spearhead this effort, he was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who voted to reauthorize SRS.

“Over the last few years folks across Montana have experienced, firsthand, the severe consequences of letting SRS expire,” Tester said. “Roads go unpaved, emergency services suffer, and schools lose out on critical resources. That’s why I’ve been relentless in my efforts to reauthorize SRS and bring this much-needed funding back to Montana counties as we look for more responsible ways to cut debt and spending.”

Congress passed SRS in 2000 to compensate forested counties for lost revenue due to declining timber production on federal lands. For the next 15 years, more than two dozen Montana counties received annual SRS payments to help fund schools, roads, jails, and other essential services. However, when Congress let SRS expire in 2015, these annual payments dropped by more than 85 percent. As a result, total SRS payments to Montana counties went from $18 million in 2015 to just over $2 million in 2016 because payments without SRS are determined by an older formula that allots significantly less funding.

Ever since, Tester has been tirelessly working to reauthorize SRS—a goal he achieved in this year’s government funding agreement.

Tester’s legislative fix doesn’t just ensure counties will receive full SRS funding moving forward, it also makes counties whole for the previous fiscal year—and that’s where this funding comes in. The first round of SRS payments for Fiscal Year 2017 went out back in February, before the program was reauthorized. Those payments were calculated using the expired formula, making them a fraction of what they would be under the reauthorized formula.

Now that SRS has been reauthorized, 2017 payments have been recalculated using the proper formula and this funding is being allocated to make up the difference.

Updated payments for each county can be found here and are detailed below.

 

COUNTY

 INITIAL PAYMENTS THIS ROUND OF FUNDING TOTAL FOR 2017
Beaverhead $96,546.49 $935,219.36 $1,031,765.85
Broadwater $47,509.87 $146,203.66 $193,713.53
Carter $7,518.16 $37,721.72 $45,239.88
Cascade $13,719.44 $111,050.57 $124,770.01
Chouteau $2,359.49 $39,063.77 $41,423.26
Deer Lodge $24,278.30 $171,712.32 $195,990.62
Fergus $7,258.04 $69,449.00 $76,707.04
Flathead $311,132.04 $1,250,453.28 $1,561,585.32
Gallatin $106,229.36 $259,516.66 $365,746.02
Glacier $2,219.33 $35,161.22 $37,380.55
Golden Valley $1,827.53 $11,214.76 $13,042.29
Granite $95,953.31 $621,745.99 $717,699.30
Jefferson $83,646.86 $250,320.97 $333,967.83
Judith Basin $22,942.09 $140,524.81 $163,466.90
Lewis& Clark $166,094.62 $523,004.19 $689,098.81
Lincoln $544,509.13 $3,550,746.77 $4,095,255.90
Madison $74,497.35 $359,864.84 $434,362.19
Meagher $49,475.48 $306,543.76 $356,019.24
Mineral $71,291.61 $885,166.81 $956,458.42
Missoula $105,720.39 $578,340.47 $684,060.86
Park $133,372.21 $383,873.08 $517,245.29
Pondera $8,240.88 $84,322.44 $92,563.32
Powder River $28,358.99 $302,517.49 $330,876.48
Powell $114,021.48 $603,071.52 $717,093.00
Ravalli $34,534.51 $961,278.31 $995,812.82
Rosebud $7,974.09 $82,269.80 $90,243.89
Sanders $297,133.33 $1,362,921.19 $1,660,054.52
Silver Bow $26,987.74 $91,335.01 $118,322.75
Stillwater $15,914.14 $108,266.40 $124,180.54
Sweet Grass $39,043.24 $142,120.08 $181,163.32
Teton $18,048.88 $144,566.15 $162,615.03
Wheatland $4,997.10 $64,045.89 $69,042.99
TOTAL $2,563,355.48 $14,613,612.29 $17,176,967.77

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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