06-27-18 Interior Secretary Zinke Announces $40.1 Million in Payments to Colorado to Support Vital Services in Communities

Secretary Zinke Announces $40.1 Million in Payments to Colorado to Support Vital Services in Communities
PILT Program Compensates Communities for Supporting Nation’s Public Lands, Waters; Invests in Firefighters, Police, School and Road Construction

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced 56 local governments in Colorado are receiving a total of $40.1 million under the 2018 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to local communities. This is the largest amount ever allocated in the program’s 40-year history. A full list of funding by state and county is available at www.doi.gov/pilt.

“Local communities contribute significantly to our nation’s economy, food and energy supply, and help define the character of our diverse and beautiful country,” said Secretary Zinke. “These investments often serve as a lifeline for local communities as they juggle planning and paying for basic services like public safety, fire-fighting, social services and transportation.”

PILT program eligibility is reserved for local governments that contain non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. These jurisdictions provide significant support for national parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas throughout the year. PILT seeks to compensate local governments for the inability to collect property taxes on Federally-owned land.

“These investments are one of the ways the federal government can fulfill its role of being a good neighbor to local communities,” said Secretary Zinke. “President Trump has made job creation and opportunity in rural areas a top priority for his Administration and strongly supported the PILT program.

“I’ve been a staunch advocate for the PILT program, and I support the federal government’s commitment to the communities that will receive this funding across Colorado,” said Senator Cory Gardner. “These grants, which are used for critical services like law enforcement and infrastructure investments, prove why it is so important for Congress to fully fund the PILT program.”

“Many counties in Colorado’s Third District have broad expanses of non-taxable public lands and PILT helps to bridge the budgetary challenges created by the inability to collect tax revenues,” said Congressman Scott Tipton. “I am encouraged to learn that this is the largest amount of money ever allocated in the program’s history, and I look forward to seeing this money support essential services such as education, infrastructure, and law enforcement.”

“Colorado’s counties host many of the nation’s most valuable public lands. As custodians of these tax-exempt properties, the counties depend on payments in lieu of taxes to help offset the wide variety of costs associated with their use and preservation, as well as the impacts on the communities that serve as their gateways,” said Colorado Counties Inc President and Teller County Commissioner Dave Paul. “CCI has long-supported full funding for PILT and appreciates that this federal-local partnership has been reauthorized again this year and next. This funding helps counties offset some of the cost to ensure that our nation’s public lands can be appropriately managed and protected now and in the future.”

“Having more than 70% public lands, communities throughout Western Colorado depend on vitally important PILT funds to help support essential services like P-12 education, search and rescue services, public safety, and road maintenance projects,” said Executive Director of CLUB 20 Christian Reece. “PILT funds allow Western Colorado communities to remain economically competitive with their neighbors and help to increase the quality of life for all Western Colorado residents.”

Using a formula provided by statute, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the National Forest and National Park Systems; lands in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge System; areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management; areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects; and others.

Since PILT payments began in 1977, Interior has distributed approximately $8.5 billion dollars to states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

The Department collects more than $9.6 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues is shared with states and counties. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of federal activities, including PILT funding.

Individual county payments may vary from year to year as a result of changes in acreage data, which is updated yearly by the federal agency administering the land; prior year Federal Revenue Sharing payments reported yearly by the Governor of each State; and population data, which is updated using information from the U.S. Census Bureau. Federal Revenue Sharing payments are made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous fiscal year, including payments such as those made under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, the Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, the National Forest Fund, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, when authorized.