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City commission holds on harvest

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Chiefland commissioners stalled a proposal by city staff Monday night to sell the timber growing on about 30 acres of a city well site.

City Manager Kevin Gay said two bids came in on the timber, the highest offering to pay about $42,000.

"I'm a vote no!" said Commissioner Rollin Hudson, explaining that a poor market prompted little response from logging companies.

"I don't think we should sell right now," he said. "If the wood market was really hittin', there's be more than two bidders."

Gay said another issue to consider was an infestation of pine beetles, but Hudson said he recently talked to a forester who had seen no evidence of pine beetles on adjacent property.

"If it's southern pine beetle, it's bad ... " Hudson said, expressing doubt that the tract was infested. "It's not a good time to cut right now."

Commissioners did, however, approve unanimously to move forward in applying for a grant related to the property that could potentially pay all costs to replant the land with seedlings after harvest.

City Financial Coordinator Laurie Copeland said the city won't know if it's received the grant for a few months, which is important in case it needs to be called off. She said she's been told there are certain types of beetles that can be dormant in the ground, hatching a few months after timber has been harvested to munch on freshly planted seedlings.