COPY-Ark. forestry agency couldn't borrow more money

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas Forestry Commission official says the agency announced plans to lay off three dozen workers after the state's finance office said the agency had to stop borrowing money.

State Forester John Shannon spoke to reporters Friday after the Commission's quarterly meeting.

Shannon says the Commission had previously been borrowing money from federal grants and a state fund that's set up to help volunteer fire departments.

The Commission said earlier this month that it plans to lay off 36 workers in January to make up for a $4 million shortfall in its budget. The agency has blamed declining timber sales for the budget gap.

The employees are to be laid off effective Jan. 13. The 298-person state agency oversees conservation and fire suppression in the state's forests.

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