Federal funds totaling $451.6 million to be distributed under the 2016 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, as announced on June 22 by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, include $1,201,991 for the Cordova/ Valdez area.
The payments represent the largest amount ever allocated under the PILT program to compensate counties and local governments for their support of national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands and waters as they forego property taxes due to non-taxable federal land in their jurisdictions.
PILT program eligibility is reserved for local governments that provide significant support for national conservation and recreation areas throughout the year.
President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposes to return the PILT program to mandatory funding at $480 million annually, which would ensure funding stability for the program and local communities every year.
Alaska’s share of PILT funds for 2016 totals $28,961,235 for the more than 225 million acres of federal land in Alaska. The largest amount in Alaska went to the Matanuska Susitna Borough, a total of $3.5 million for some 3 million acres of land.
PILT funds are used to provide services that range from firefighting and police protection to road construction and search and rescue operations.
The Interior Department collects more than $11 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, including oil and gas leasing and timber harvesting.
A portion of those revenues is then shared with states and country and borough governments.