In June, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced that 44 local governments in Idaho would receive a total of $32.2 million under the 2019 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

“Payments in lieu of taxes are made to local governments to help offset their inability to tax federal property,” Bernhardt said in a news release. “These payments are one example of the United States striving to be a good neighbor to local communities. This year’s distribution of $514 million to more than 1,900 counties will help small towns pay for critical needs like emergency response, public safety, public schools, housing, social services, and infrastructure.”

PILT payments help local governments carry out such vital services as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. The payments are made annually for tax-exempt federal lands administered by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and for federal water projects and some military installations.

Using a statutory formula, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction and on the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the national forest and national park systems; lands in the FWS Refuge System; areas managed by the BLM; areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects; and others.

Since PILT payments began in 1977, DOI has distributed approximately $9.2 billion dollars to States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

DOI collects more than $11.9 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting.

Idaho County received $1,762,493.

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