Re­gion due about $200,000 un­der PILT pro­gram on fed­eral lands

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page -

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.

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