County Funds

Updated: May 1, 2018

Title III-County Funds

The Secure Rural Schools Act (SRS Act) was reauthorized by P.L. 115-141 and signed into law by the President on March 23, 2018.  This reauthorization extended the date by which title III projects must be initiated to September 30, 2020, and the date by which title III funds must be obligated to September 30, 2021. These deadlines apply to all unobligated title III funds, including title III funds under the current reauthorization of the SRS Act and title III funds received under the previous authorization. 

Authorized uses of title III funds

What changes did P.L. 115-141 make to Title III authorized uses?

In addition to the previously authorized uses, P.L. 115-141 authorizes the following new uses of Title III payments to states as shown in italics:

(1) to carry out activities under the Firewise Communities program

(2) to reimburse the participating county for search and rescue and other emergency services, including firefighting and law enforcement patrols

(3) to cover training costs and equipment purchases directly related to the emergency service described in paragraph (2); and

(4) to develop and carry out community wildfire protection plans.

 

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Annual certification of authorized expenditures of title III funds

The reauthorized Act continues to require counties allocating funds for title III projects to annually certify that the funds were used in accordance with title III (including a description of amounts and uses).  In response to the July 16, 2012 GAO audit report, the Forest Service modified the certification form to collect information about obligation of title III funds as well as expenditures.  Please see the section on Certification for information, instructions and a revised required reporting form (2013 Title III Certification Form OMB 596-0220) for the annual certification of expenditures. 

The county’s initiation of a title III project must be documented.  For the purposes of title III, a project may be considered to be initiated at a point in time before the county publishes its intention to use title III funds for an authorized project in a publication of local record as required in section 302(b).  The Forest Service recommends that the county document its initiation of title III projects in the meeting minutes of its county governing body (e.g., board of commissioners) which reflect the county’s agreement to use the funds for the authorized uses in title III.

 

Updated: September 2, 2015

In response to a July 16, 2012 report on county uses of title III funds by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Forest Service updated the information on this website in August 2012, including the title III frequently asked questions, to further clarify the type of expenditures allowed under title III of the SRS Act.

The GAO report may be viewed at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-775.  The USDA response to the GAO report may be viewed on this web site.



https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/pts/countyfunds