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PILT Funding for Rural Counties in Omnibus Bill

Dan Bammes
Cedar Breaks National Monument is among the large areas of federal land in Utah's Iron County

Elected officials from Utah’s rural counties are watching the big omnibus spending bill closely as it moves through Congress.  It includes some critical funding they depend on.

County governments in Utah received almost 38-million dollars last year from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, also called PILT.  They use it to fund law enforcement, firefighting and other services on federal land.

Iron County got 3-point-2 million dollars in PILT funding this year.  That’s about 20-percent of the county’s total budget.

Commissioner Alma Adams says it’s something they always have to worry about.

Adams tells KUER, “Congress has never acted to make the payments permanent, and every year it’s kind of a last-minute thing to figure out some bill to attach it to.  Last year, it was the farm bill.”

Another program that provides additional funding for schools in counties with national forests was not included in the last-minute legislation.  Utah Republican Representative Rob Bishop has promised to bring that up shortly after the next Congress convenes in January.

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