Mesa County to receive $3.9 million PILT payment

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

Mesa County will receive nearly $3.9 million in the latest payment in lieu of taxes on federal lands in the county.

The payment is once again the single largest to a Colorado county out of more than $44 million in so-called PILT payments in the state for the 2022 fiscal year. 

Nationwide, the Department of Interior will distribute a total of almost  $550 million under the program.

“This program is an important example of the federal government’s commitment to continue to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “The nearly $550 million being distributed will help local governments carry out vital services, such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads and serve and rescue operations.”

The PILT program compensates local government entities for revenues from nontaxable federal lands, including those administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and National Park Service. Payments are based on the acreage of federal land and population within a county. Since the program began in 1977, the Department of the Interior has distributed almost $10.8 billion.

Funding for the payments comes from the more than $12.1 billion in annual revenue the Department of the Interior collects from commercial activities on federal lands, including energy development, livestock grazing and timber harvests.

The 2022 payment to Mesa County, which tops the 2021 payment by about $98,000, is based on nearly 1.56 million acres of federal lands in the county. The combined acreage of federal lands in Mesa County is third in Colorado behind only Moffat County with 1.67 million acres and Gunnison County with more than 1.63 million acres.

The PILT payment is higher for Mesa County than other counties, though, because of its larger population. Moffat County will receive a payment of  $980,000. Gunnison County will receive almost $1.8 million.

With nearly 1.2 million acres of federal lands, Garfield County will receive the second largest PILT payment in Colorado of  almost $3.5 million.

Montrose County will receive more than $2.8 million in payment in lieu of taxes on nearly 1 million acres of federal land.

Despite having almost 1.5 million acres of federal lands, the less populated Rio Blanco County will receive almost $629,000. Delta County will receive more than $955,000 for more than 400,000 acres.