The federal government recently issued $514.7 million in payments to counties throughout Utah and across the country. The money, known as Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), is given to state and county governments to offset the property taxes those governments would have collected from land controlled by the federal government. A formula is used to determine the payments based on tax-exempt federal land and population of the county.
According to U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, the payments “will help small towns pay for critical needs like emergency response, public safety, public schools, housing, social services, and infrastructure.”
There are 283,147 acres of federal land in Cache County and the county received $759,719. The PILT payment for 2019 is actually slightly less than what Cache County received in 2018. According to federal documents, the county received $7,000 more last year even though the total amount of land under federal control was one acre less.
On the other hand, Box Elder County saw a significant increase in its payment with the total amount of acres remaining the same in 2019 as it was in 2018, at 1,201,275. Box Elder County received the second highest payout in the state (only behind Iron County) with $3,324,963; that’s $72,090 more than last year.
Rich County’s payment went up 5%, from $422,767 to $445,724 with no change in federal acres (221,551). Across the border in Idaho, the Bear Lake County payment dropped just over 10% (from $728,815 to $651,450) with only one-acre difference between 2018 and 2019.
Franklin and Oneida counties also saw declines in PILT payments. The PILT payment for Franklin County decreased 14% and the payment for Oneida County decreased nearly 3.5%.
The total amount paid out to Utah for 2019 was $40,938,259 while the amount paid to Idaho was $32,271,810.