Government approves increased PILT money for GarCo
Garfield County got an unexpected bonus from the feds recently. Last week, Congress approved an increase in federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), a program of the Department of the Interior that pays back local governments for the income they lose on untaxed federal lands in their jurisdictions.Since counties must still provide essential services on those lands such as road maintenance, firefighting services and law enforcement, PILT helps offset those costs that otherwise would be funded through property taxes.This year, Garfield County will receive $1 million in PILT revenue, $165,000 more than expected, said county manager Ed Green.”We budgeted for $900,000,” he said, adding that the county usually figures a lower payment each year, not knowing until they get the amount, what it will be.”It’s really a crap shoot,” Green said. PILT payments also appear to be related to mineral leasing and severance taxes that come back to the counties from the federal government.The county will not know how much it will receive in severance and mineral leasing tax revenues until the fall.Garfield County has seen its oil and gas related revenue increase steadily since the industry has focused more of its development efforts here in the last few years.Last year, for example, the county received $808,000 in PILT money, $675,262 in mineral leasing and $997,165 in severance tax revenue.PILT, severance and mineral leasing money goes into the general and capital funds, Green said.This year, the county plans to spend $1.5 million on a new community corrections building and $450,000 on a child advocacy center.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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