WHEREAS federal payments to counties through the Secure Rural Schools program (SRS), Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Federal Mineral Leases payments are vitally important to the Western Slope, as much of the land in Western Colorado is federally‑owned and is not subject to property taxes, and
WHEREAS the PILT program was implemented in 1976, but was not indexed for inflation, so that the value of federal PILT payments has steadily eroded over time, and
WHEREAS the funding of PILT has been uncertain, often only funded on a year-to year basis and below the authorized levels, making it difficult for Counties and Schools to make long-term budget plans and decisions, and
WHEREAS the SRS program, meant to support communities dependent upon Forest-based industries and cover the shortfalls created by declining Forest receipts from the sales of Forest-based products and services, has not been renewed by Congress, and
WHEREAS CLUB 20 member counties have many expenses related to the provision of services to those residents and visitors who enjoy the use of our national forests, including but not limited to: k-12 schools, search and rescue services, public safety via our sheriffs’ offices, and road maintenance, and
WHEREAS CLUB 20 member counties expend considerable resources working with the Forest Service, BLM, EPA, Bureau of Reclamation and other Federal agencies responding to, contributing to, reviewing and helping implement federal land management plans within their jurisdictions, and
WHEREAS Counties with mineral development, including hardrock mining and oil and gas development, have incurred additional burdens and expensive impacts upon their communities beyond the expenses that PILT revenues were meant to offset, and
WHEREAS several Western Slope counties have formed Federal Mineral Lease Districts, giving up control of where and how those resources will be spent in order to avoid having their PILT payments reduced by the amount of the payments made for Federal Mineral Leases.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20:
- Supports legislation that would index Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to the rate of inflation, and
- Supports long-term full-funding of PILT, and
- Supports reauthorization and full-funding of SRS, until such a time as active forest management produces the receipts necessary to fully-fund the program, and
- Opposes Federal Mineral Lease revenues being deducted from PILT payments.
Formerly 93-3 PL 3