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Feds boost payment to county

Garfield County will receive more than $1 million of the $17.6 million being disbursed to Colorado counties this year as payments in lieu of taxes from the federal government.

Garfield will get $1,187,797 this year, up from $810,487 a year ago, said Blair Jones, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction.

The PILT program, administered by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, compensates counties for non-taxable federal lands located within their boundaries.



Payments are made for BLM lands, national forests, parks, and wildlife refuges; land used for federal water projects; and some military installations.

If McInnis gets his way, future payments will be higher than they have been over the years since the program was begun in 1976.



The value of payments to counties has been eroded by inflation over the years. In 1994, Congress attempted to address this concern by increasing the program’s authorization levels. However, Congress’ appropriations to PILT have failed to meet those authorization levels, a fact that McInnis’ bill sets out to change.

He has reintroduced a bill, which he first offered last year, that would require Congress to appropriate PILT funds to the full degree authorized.

McInnis’ western Colorado congressional district has 28 counties that count heavily on the payments, he said.

“Nowhere is PILT more important than it is to us in rural Colorado,” said McInnis. “We rely on these programs to replace lost tax revenue dollars that go toward everything from roads to schools and social services.”

Eagle County will receive $823,812 this year under the program, and Pitkin County will receive $555,514.

Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516

dwebb@postindependent.com


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