Ken Brown, field director of the Western Counties Alliance from Randolph, Utah, made his quarterly visit to the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners May 1.
Western Counties Alliance (WCA) is a non-profit organization, established for the purpose of giving western counties a greater voice in support of well managed multiple use of public lands and natural resources in federal policies. It is the mission of WCA to promote a strong economic development atmosphere for counties alongside reasonable conservation of natural resources.
Commissioners approved the Alliance annual fee of $2,000 to remain as part of the group.
Brown talked about Payment in Lieu of Taxes money and suggested an idea he presented recently to members of Congress who asked about how PILT should continue to be funded. It is supposed to be paid for from land and water conservation funds where there is over $800 million. But Congress doesn’t do it that way, he said, and he believes a very good solution would be for the federal government to discontinue buying private property and use the money to fund PILT. Some interest in that idea has been expressed by Congress, he said, but he doesn’t know how strong the interest is.
He said in regards to PILT monies, it is based on a formula in keeping with county population numbers, the bigger the population, the more PILT money given. Brown said he feels the smaller counties, such as Lincoln, “are getting mistreated.” For example, in 2016 in Nevada, Clark County received $3.5 million, while Esmeralda County (population 783) got $3,000.
Brown reported the rate of payment for PILT in 2016 was $2.37 per acre counties with the largest populations like Clark, Washoe and Carson City, and 37 cents per acre for the smaller population counties.