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PeninsulaNorthwest

PENINSULA DAILY NEWS

A7

(J) — WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012

Clallam OKs budget with no new layoffs County Administrator Jim Jones presented the budget in two public hearings Dec. 4. No public testimony was given in either hearing. The 2013 budget is the result of union negotiations that took place in late 2011. Employees agreed to nearly $1.8 million in wage concessions in both 2012 and 2013 in exchange for no layoffs.

BY ROB OLLIKAINEN PENINSULA DAILY NEWS

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has adopted a $31.3 million budget for 2013 that includes 16 furlough days for most workers but no new layoffs at the courthouse. The three commissioners approved the balanced budget — which sports a surplus of more than $300,000 — by unanimous vote Tuesday. “This is a reflection of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, everyone who oversees their departments and all the elected officials working through the process for six months,� Commissioner Mike Chapman said.

Furlough days The concessions include an additional 16 unpaid furlough days, during which time most offices in the courthouse will be closed. Like this year, all of the furlough days will occur on a Monday. Clallam County cut

spending from $31.2 million in 2012 to $30.9 million in the 2013 general fund for a projected surplus of $345,227. The budget preserves a $10.1 million reserve. The county has laid off or not hired back the equivalent of 32.72 full-time workers since 2009. It enters the new year with a 380-member workforce. Jones wrote in his budget summary that the weak economy continues to hold back revenues. “Losses in revenue are mostly the result of cuts from the state in grants and contracts for services from last year’s budget, together with a significant reduction expected in fines and forfeits as traffic ticket collections continue to reduce,�

he wrote. The 2013 budget adds two part-time security officers for the courts. A security committee recommended the enhanced coverage after a Grays Harbor County deputy was attacked at the courthouse in Montesano earlier this year.

Economic engine The budget has $1 million in one-time revenue from the transfer of real estate excise taxes from capital projects to the general fund. Every year, Jones notes the county’s net effect as an economic engine in his budget summaries. In 2013, the county will take $28.4 million out of the

local economy from taxes, licences, permits, fines and fees. “At the same time, we’re putting back into the local economy $58.8 million in this budget in the form of $22.3 million worth of salaries, $22.3 million worth of services that we’re contracting out to people to do services for us and $14.2 million of actual capital construction projects that we have planned in this budget,� Jones said in the second budget hearing last week. The net effect is a gain of $30.4 million for the economy. “That’s an important thing that people don’t realize,� Jones said. Chapman thanked Jones, Budget Director Kay

Stevens and “all the department heads for shepherding us through this process to get to a balanced budget once again. “It continues to reflect the county’s spending priorities, our budgetary process and the good work of the entire county leadership team,� he said. “That leadership team for the budget starts from the newest employee on up to the Board of Commissioners. “It’s a budget we can be proud of.� The Clallam County budget can be reviewed at www.clallam.net.

________ Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

Trees: Some slow-growing giants could be lost beater’s opossum, a 4-inch, big-eyed marsupial that can only nest in ash trees at least 200 years old. Unless the country takes steps to protect the ancient ash trees, the world’s tallest flowering plants, the opossum is headed for extinction, he said. In the Pacific Northwest, legal wrangling over the old-growth-dependent owl led the federal government to restrict logging on millions of acres of federal forest in Washington and Oregon. During the debate, Franklin proposed a more eco-friendly alternative to clearcutting that leaves some trees standing.

CONTINUED FROM A1 Gnarled, old trees also produce a bounty of seeds to replenish the forests and are a vital source of food. “These big, old trees are really important elements of many forests and many landscapes,� said Franklin, who was a key player in the 1990s-era battle to protect the remnants of the Pacific Northwest’s famed oldgrowth forests. “An old tree tends to be very idiosyncratic, just like we are as human beings.� Although the causes for the decline are diverse, all involve the common denominator of human intervention. PENINSULA DAILY NEWS

Logging elsewhere

The trees in the Hoh Rain Forest are famed for their height.

In Scandinavia, logging companies are simply targeting the biggest, oldest trees, the researchers found. On the savannas of Northern Australia, nonnative grasses planted to improve cattle and sheep grazing burn seven times hotter than native grass, decimating trees that weathered centuries of normal fire. If the rate of loss doesn’t abate, all of the trees in the Australian region — both old and young — will be gone in 50 years, Linden-

mayer said. In Brazil, where rain forests have been reduced to fragments, old trees are much more vulnerable to being toppled by wind and parasitized by strangler vines that proliferate after logging. Many forest ecosystems are so altered by invasive species, human management and shifting climate that young trees no longer are able to grow into behemoths, the scientists said. Infestations of a plant

called lantana smother seedlings in some parts of India, Lindenmayer said. In the mountain-ash forests of Southern Australia, where he’s worked for nearly three decades, cycles of fire followed by salvage logging prevent forests from maturing.

Shifting mindset Forestry experts have long been aware of the decline of big trees, said Oregon State University

professor Mark Harmon, who was not involved in the analysis. But the Science paper is one of the first attempts to pull together evidence from different parts of the world and make the argument that big trees deserve special consideration. “Maybe it will change the mindset,� Harmon said. Lindenmayer became interested in big trees while tracking the fate of Australia’s equivalent of the northern spotted owl: the Lead-

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But there’s still no nationwide policy that singles out big, old trees for protection or works to ensure that young trees are able to replace their elders, he said. “We’re dramatically reducing the number of big trees,� Franklin said. “As part of our active

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