County to get federal PILT funds

From Press & Staff Reports

Webster County will receive about $170 in federal tax money this year, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has announced.

The money is part of a $1.98 million package that will go to counties in Mississippi this year as part of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.

The U.S. Department of the Interior on June 22 announced the distribution of 2016 PILT payments to local governments with tax-exempt federal property within their boundaries. This year’s $1,988,191 award to Mississippi is $154,248 more than the 2015 payment.

The $171 designated for Webster County is for 66 acres of federal property.

“The Payment in Lieu of Taxes payment is intended to help offset tax revenue losses in counties with federal properties, including wildlife refuges or national parks. The counties are free to use the funding to supplement their general budgets,” Cochran said.

For Mississippi, 73 counties will receive 2016 PILT funding, with the five largest payments going to Lafayette County ($220,960), Yalobusha County ($171,684), Sharkey County ($140,873), Grenada County ($118,777) and Wayne County ($86,305).

Annual PILT payments are made for tax-exempt federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service. Federal water projects and some military installations are also considered in PILT payment evaluations.

Cochran is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds the Interior Department and PILT program. The Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee two weeks ago fully funds PILT for FY2017.