After last year’s uncertainty, La Plata County officials now can rest easy knowing federal funds that make up for tax-exempt public lands will arrive.
The Payments in Lieu of Taxes, also known as PILT, was attached to the Cromnibus, a $1.1 trillion spending bill, that was approved over the weekend.
Last year, the funds were not earmarked for distribution until February because of a political stalemate over the budget.
Counties nationwide will receive $372 million total. But it currently is unknown how much Colorado or La Plata County will receive, said Phillip Clelland, a representative from Sen. Michael Bennet’s office.
La Plata County has budgeted to receive $575,000 in 2015 from PILT, La Plata County Finance Director Diane Sorensen said. This is a little bit less than the county received in 2014.
The payments fluctuate based on other federal funds the county may receive for rural schools and mineral lease payments, Sorensen said.
Last year, when PILT was included in the Farm Bill, Bennet said he would work toward a solution that would provide certainty for the funds.
“We need to provide more certainty for these communities in the long term rather than force them to wonder year to year whether Washington will live up to its end of the bargain,” Bennet said in a statement.
The spending bill authorizes the PILT payments only through 2015.