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Fire District 2 Letter to DNR Regarding Forest Trust Land Proposal

At their regular meeting on August 21, 2023, the Board of Fire Commissioners approved a letter to Hillary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The letter concerned the impact on local taxing districts from Jefferson County’s proposed participation in Natural Climate Solutions investments and extended Trust Land Transfer program. The letter puts Commissioner Franz and the DNR on notice that neither Fire District 2 (nor other local taxing districts) were consulted by the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioner on the specific land purchases and conservation transfers proposed by the County – even though the proposal involved land within District boundaries.

The DNR has a fiduciary duty to manage the State’s Forest Trust Lands for beneficiaries. Junior taxing districts such as Fire District 2 receive revenue from forest trust lands through timber sales. Through July 2023, Fire District 2 received $238,786 in timber revenue. Fire District 2 Commissioners are concerned about the potential diminishment of revenue and the economic impacts on businesses and citizens of the District from the County’s proposal. Fire District 2 Commissioners believe the proposed purchases and transfers require further study and evaluation before any implementation that results directly or indirectly in any land being taken out of timber production.

The letter requests that the DNR consider relevant factors and consult with local taxing districts before proceeding with purchases and transfers of timber trust lands.

Letter to Hillary Franz, Commissioner of Public LandsJefferson County Fire Chiefs Association Letter