PILT means a Total of over $5 Million for Western Montana
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on Wednesday that over $40 million of Payment in Lieu of Taxes monies will go to Montana counties, with Ravalli and Missoula Counties receiving over $5 million.
PILT program eligibility is reserved for local governments that contain non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries.
Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows said much of Ravalli County is federal land.
“Ravalli County is almost 75 percent public land and it has a big impact on our local services, but I think proportionately it’s just a fair share of that money,” said Burrows. “It was about a $700,000 increase over last year, since last year we got about $2.7 million and this year will be a little over $3 million.”
Burrows said because PILT payments can vary from year to year, Ravalli County doesn’t depend on them to pay for long term salaries or services.
“Some years it’s sequestered, some years Congress doesn’t appropriate it, so we consider that soft money or one time money so that we can fund one-time expenses like capital purchases or beefing up reserves.”
In Missoula, PILT monies are used for several county government services. Chief Financial Officer Andrew Czorny said Missoula County will receive a little over $2,303,000. Flathead County receives the most in PILT funds with $3,442,000. Then comes Ravalli County with $3,015,079, Lewis & Clark County with $2,831,000 and Missoula County.
“That money goes into the general fund,” Czorny said. “It will cover the costs of the County Attorneys, the Justice Court, the 9-1-1 Center and general government services like the county surveyors and a lot of different areas that need funding right now.”
Flathead County will receive $3.4 million, while cash poor Mineral County will only receive about $721,000. Treasure County holds the distinction of being the county with the lowest payment of only $284.