El Dorado County to receive $1M for federal land tax help | SierraSun.com

El Dorado County to receive $1M for federal land tax help

Mackenzie Myers Mountain Democrat

For its wealth of federal land — and the taxes that can’t be collected on it — El Dorado County will receive about $1 million this year from the Department of the Interior, according to a news release from the agency.

The Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program is allocating its largest amount in its 40-year history, the release said. It is designed to help local governments offset costs of services like firefighting, law enforcement, road maintenance and search-and-rescue operations in areas that contain a lot of federal land, which doesn’t provide tax revenue.

In a written memo, county Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Shawne Corley said each county’s allocation is based on several factors: eligible acreage, population, payments from other federal land programs, PILT’s total allocation and the Consumer Price Index.

This year, 543,907 county acres were recognized as eligible and the allocation is a significant increase from previous years. According to the Department of the Interior website, El Dorado County received $527,881 in 2017. An email from county spokeswoman Carla Hass listed the 2016 and 2015 amounts at $523,823 and $560,823, respectively.

As recently as the 2012-13 fiscal year, the county received around $185,000 in PILT funding.

Corley said the money goes to the county’s General Fund and may be used to offset costs tied to law enforcement, environmental compliance and search and rescue. The funds should reach the county in late summer or early fall, Hass said.

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The Department of the Interior collects revenue from commercial activity on public lands, such as livestock grazing, timber harvesting and oil leasing. PILT is a small component of the Interior’s total operation — according to the news release, the Department of the Interior has distributed $8.5 million in PILT funds since 1977, while it collects $9.6 billion in revenue annually.

By comparison, Placer County received $983,321 and Sacramento County received $26,044 this year from PILT.