January is the usual time of year when the government owned property entities make their annual payments to the state and counties. Custer County has normally received a stipend from the National Forest PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) no later than January 28.
However, earlier this month it was in question whether or not PILT payments would be made at all.
Custer County’s treasurer, Virginia Trujillo, said that with state cutbacks the government failed to fund the June PILT payment. It is the first time that this has happened.
Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall sent out a press release on Monday, January 27, stating that there will be an extension of the PILT program.
“Rural communities in Colorado and across the country rely on these critical resources to provide basic services,” Bennet said. “This extension means they can move forward with their budget and plan for the rest of this year.”
“PILT funds are essential to protecting our way of life throughout Colorado,” Udall said. “This is a major victory, but I will keep fighting to fully fund the PILT program past 2014 and remove these funds from the annual uncertainty of the federal budget process.”
Last year, the Custer County Commissioners decided to take the National Forest PILT and put it to Title 3, which is the general fund for the county. Fifteen percent of the $147,236.20 PILT was taken off the top and put into the general fund. That fifteen percent was used only for the county’s fire community program needs.
Also last year, the National Forest PILT was split between Fremont and Custer County’s school districts. The amount of that money was $97,617.60. The remaining National Forest PILT, $27,533.17, was put toward Road and Bridge.
“There are three PILTs throughout the year,” Trujillo explained. “The first is the National Forest PILT, Payment in Lieu of Taxes PILT, and the DOW PILT. As for now though, we are still waiting for the first PILT of this year.”
– J.E. Ward