Under the Department of Interior’s Payment In Lieu of Taxes program Colorado communities will receive $34.5 million this year.
Local governments can’t collect taxes on federal lands so the PILT program tries to offset this lost revenue by giving counties payments for the untaxable public lands within their boundaries.
Mesa County has around 1.6 million acres of federal lands and it will receive more than any other Colorado county under the program this year. It stands to collect about $3.4 million.
About 70 percent of Montrose County is federal lands and it will collect nearly $2.3 million from the program.
Jon Waschubusch, the government affairs director for the county, said the PILT payment goes into the Montrose general fund. He called the funding critical to county operations.
“It’s about 13.5 percent of our general fund revenue on an annual basis," Waschubusch said.
San Miguel County stands to get nearly $1 million , Ouray County will collect about $400,000 , and Delta will receive nearly $165,000.
PILT payments were extended for another year under the 2014 Farm Bill, but the future of the program is uncertain under the federal budgeting process decided by Congress.