Idaho To Receive $30M In PILT Funding For 2017

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talks with reporters with part of Mount Katahdin in the background at the Katahdin Woods And Waters National Monument near Staceyville Maine Wednesday

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced Monday that the Department of the Interior is distributing more than $29.69 million to eligible local governments throughout Alaska.

Colorado counties received $36.6 million, the largest share of which went to Mesa County, or $2.23 per acre of federal land in the county.

"As a kid who grew up in northwest Montana and whose sons graduated from the same high school as I did, I know how important PILT payments are to local communities that have federal lands", Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who was Montana's congressman before President Donald Trump appointed him to his current job, said in a statement. 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.

PILT is a 40-year-old federal program providing money to local county governments.

The federal government had made these payments to local governments every year since the 1970s on federally owned lands that are not otherwise subject to taxation, and every county in Idaho gets some. For 2017 the Department of the Interior added about 202 additional federal acres and awarded Teton County about $26,000 more. Federal public lands make up 97 percent of the area in Teton County.

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Millions of dollars are feeding back into Montana as part of an annual payment to counties all around the United States, but could future payments be in jeopardy?

With almost 1.2 million acres of federal lands, Garfield County will receive the second largest PILT payment in Colorado for 2017 fiscal of more than $3.1 million.

The nearly $30 million Alaska will receive is part of a record $464.6 million that will be distributed to 1,900 local governments in the country this year.

Despite having nearly 1.5 million acres of federal lands, the less populated Rio Blanco County will receive about $553,000.

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