PILT, or Payment in Lieu of Taxes, is the federal program that provides funding to counties and other local governments to offset forgone tax revenues on federal land within their boundaries. Across the nation, 62 percent of counties depend on PILT to provide needed services on public lands.
Unfortunately, PILT is a discretionary program subject to the appropriations process. It has become an annual ordeal for counties to compel the Feds to follow through on their obligation to fully fund the program. This year, the federal government has still not distributed the full PILT allocation it promised for FY2015. The current authorization for PILT is set to expire Sept. 30, and there is no guarantee PILT will be funded at all in FY2016 or in the years to come.
In Ouray County, 46 percent of our land base comprises public lands. We are supposed to receive $346,000 in PILT funds in 2015, representing a significant portion of our county budget.