County approves timber contract

Published 9:38 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to enter into a contract with Southern Forestry Consultants, Inc., for the management of timber properties on Hwy. 27 and Butler Ferry Road.

County Administrator Gary Breedlove recommend the county enter the agreement, “to provide guidance for us on the management of these two properties to ensure that they are reforested, cut when its appropriate from the market standpoint to cut and continue to assist us on those two properties,” he said.

The tract of land off Hwy. 27 is connected to the Decatur County landfill and contains approximately 800 acres of timber. SFC’s goal for the eastern part of this tract, a 75-acre stretch, is to become part of the landfill in 25 to 30 years.

Email newsletter signup

“We have sufficient capacity right now in the 75 acres that we have programmed for cells one through seven to be cut and reforested and cut again in some areas, potentially two more times, before there is any current usage or slightly increased usage volume-wise that we would need to move outside those 75 acres,” Breedlove said.

The time frame to move out of these seven cells ends in 2051, Breedlove said.

The tract on Butler Ferry Road contains three stands. According to SFC, one is currently comprised of merchantable pine pulpwood. The other two are low-value timberland and grown up pasture or semi-cleared land.

Both need to be reforested, but Breedlove recommended to the board they wait until there is money available to do so.

“What we’re going to do is get up in revenue before we start trying to spend money to reforest so we don’t get ahead of ourselves where we’re having to pay money we don’t have in pocket,” Breedlove said.

According to the SFC, the multi-year budget projections for the landfill tract will increase revenue by $341,900 up through 2017. The Butler Ferry Road tract is projected to break even through 2015.