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County receives $1.7M in PILT, puts $100K treating noxious weeds

Idaho County Courthouse

Photo by David Rauzi
Idaho County Courthouse

Last week, the federal Department of the Interior (DOI) announced local governments across Idaho will receive more than $36 million out of the $553 million President Trump approved for the PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) program this spring. The PILT renewal was part of a massive federal spending bill – a $1.3 trillion roll-up of numerous topics – which passed Congress in March despite opposition by conservatives including Sen. Jim Risch, Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Raul Labrador.

Idaho County is set to receive $1,719,685.

Each local jurisdiction has say over how the money will be used. The county received about $50,000 more for 2018 than for 2017 — about 3 percent more than last year — and the county commissioners have decided to allocate it the same way.

The county received $1,669,816 during the final week of June 2017, Idaho County Commission records show. The board allocated $100,000 from PILT to the noxious weeds department and put the balance to current expense.

A pair of press releases from the DOI noted 1,900 local governments around the country will receive a total of $552.8 million in PILT — the largest amount “ever allocated in the program’s 40-year history.”

The press releases included the following statements from members of Idaho’s Congressional delegation.

“PILT payments are critical to many rural counties in Idaho to offset costs for law enforcement, fire protection and emergency response,” said Senator Mike Crapo. “I thank the administration for its commitment to ensuring rural communities neighbored by federally owned land have the resources they need.”

“Idaho counties rely on PILT payments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal land within their boundaries,” said Senator Jim Risch. “I’m glad this administration understands how critical these payments are in our states and has made it a priority.”

“In Idaho, PILT is perhaps the most critical source of funding for counties with high percentages of federal land,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “I am pleased the federal government is meeting its obligations to states and localities and I look forward to continuing to ensure full funding for fiscal year 2019. It is my hope that we can pass appropriations bills on time this year to give Idaho counties certainty with their PILT payments.”

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