Region due about $200,000 under PILT program on federal lands
Northwest Georgia counties are in line for a combined $199,464 in federal payments in lieu of taxes this year, helping offset the loss of revenue from tax-exempt publicly owned lands.
The money — averaging about $2.65 per acre — applies to 75,121 acres in Floyd, Chattooga, Bartow, Gordon, Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties. It’s mostly Chattahoochee National Forest property, although it includes land encompassing Lake Allatoona and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
“These investments are one of the ways the federal government is fulfilling its role of being a good land manager and good neighbor to local communities,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a Wednesday press release announcing the annual PILT allocations.
In place since 1977, the program uses a set formula based on the acreage of federal lands and population to calculate payments to each jurisdiction. The funds are meant to help pay for services such as firefighting, law enforcement and road construction that local governments provide.
Floyd County’s share is slated to be $17,521 for 6,625 acres of federal forest.
Neighboring Chattooga and Walker counties are home to the bulk of the forest in the region. Chattooga will get $51,263 covering 19,384 acres. Walker’s 20,551 acres will bring the county $54,452.
Bartow, home to Lake Allatoona, is due $42,738 for 15,783 acres; Gordon County $21,465 ; Catoosa $10,827 and Dade will get $1,798 for 664 acres.
Acreage and population data is updated annually and county payments may vary from year to year. Zinke said the $552.8 million set for distribution to over 1,900 communities across the nation is the largest amount allocated in the program’s 40-year history.
More than $9.6 billion a year is collected from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing and timber harvesting. Revenuse is shared by county, state and federal governments.