11:43am

Tue January 28, 2014
Politics

Federal PILT Funding Restored For Rural Colorado Counties

A coalition led by Colorado lawmakers in Congress has reinstated critical funding that helps rural counties that contain large amounts of federal land.

The "Payments In Lieu of Taxes" program (PILT) provides federal tax dollars for counties with large swaths of untaxable federal land that can’t be developed. These remote counties don’t collect as much property tax revenue as their larger, urban counterparts.

It was left out of the budget bill Congress adopted earlier in January. But a bipartisan group led by Colorado Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet was able to get an amendment restoring the funding inserted into the federal Farm Bill.

"Rural communities in Colorado and across the country rely on these critical resources to provide basic services like police and fire protection, and road maintenance," Bennet said in a release.

Sen. Bennet, a member of the Farm Bill conference committee, helped negotiate the extension. The move will restore nearly $32 million in PILT funding to Colorado counties.

For Larimer County, the loss could have amounted to nearly $1.7 million, according to projections calculated by the state for 2014.

Mesa County receives the most compared to other Colorado counties, with $3.1 million in 2013.