Forest land management more efficient now that Braun bill signed into law
OLYMPIA… Today the governor signed Senate Bill 6180 into law which changes how counties administer forest land and open space timber programs. This legislation authorizes counties to merge programs for more efficient and cost effective administration. Both programs are forestry related and the legislation will remove duplicative accounting while maintaining levels of tax revenue.
“The state should be doing everything it can to let communities plan and manage their forestry programs. This legislation is a simple fix to burdensome land management practices and allows counties to better manage their forestry programs without negatively impacting residents,” said Braun.
Lewis County Assessor Dianne Dorey noted the benefits to her county should commissioners choose to participate. “This bill will save time for us. We don’t know the direct savings yet as the Board of County Commissioners will decide whether or not we participate. If we do, we will be able to manage parcels with more efficiency by not having to dually assess property values and have property owner’s transfer between programs. Lewis County has 1/5 of the acreage that is currently in the Open Space Timber program in Washington State. Property owners will not have to deal with the cost and time of transferring between programs when their land falls below 20 acres.”
The bill places no requirements on counties to adopt changes; rather it lets them opt in. The bill also reduces the minimum size for land to be designated forest land from 20 acres to five.