PILT funds to Yakima?

An email from a reader asks about using federal funds paid to La Paz County to pay the debt to Yakima:

John,

From 1999 to 2210 about $10 million has been allocated to La Paz County from the Department of the Interior in Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) which has gone into the County general fund.

Why can’t these funds be earmarked for paying off Mr Willett, or is that too sacred a item to discuss?

I certainly appreciate your stand with your blog. I find it very informative.

Wes

UPDATE: We asked the County, and got this reply, which seems to indicate that the funds are already allocated every year:

PILT funds are inherently part of restrictive funding used for essential services and budgeted for.

4 comments

  1. John, while this answer from the County in no way surprises me, there is a lottle history that should be explained. Way back in 2006 when Dan Field was Quartzsite Town Manager and I was elected to the Town Council, Dan worked with me to the extent that he saw that I was put on the Approchiating Committe of The Leauge of Citys. I was groomed by Dan and given all the written papers involved for me to get up before about 200 Committe membersand practically beg for some changes regarding the P I L T funds. I showed that our Police Dept made approximently 200 calls out on B L M land. Also our Fire Dept made about 24 calls to B L M land.
    Being that we here in Quartzsite are surrounded by B L M land, Dan felt that we should be entitled to some of the Federal P I L T funds as should the Fire Dept.
    However the poweres that be in the county thought otherwise.
    The reason that I went before the Leauge of Cities was to have them try to work with our State Legislaters who in turn would work with the Federal Government to have one word changed which the Feds said the Countys may share the P I L T funds with other Towns that are surrounded by B L M lands. The one word that we requested to have changed is “shall” share these funds.
    Now I realize that our County Government has used these 10 million dollars sometimes very foolishly and sometimes somewhat wisely. How ever there is a tax base here in LaPaz County that is sufficiant to run this County.
    My question is- why has Dan changed his mind about sharing the P I L T funds with othere that is surrounded by B L M lands. Doesn’t he realize that nothing has changed with the cost of our Police and Fire Dept responding to BLM lands, sometimes miles away.
    I think we shhould all work together and do some serious thinking about expences that we are facing. Even a small share of the P IL T funds, say $800,000 would still leave a lions share for LaPaz county.
    Think of the goodwill that would cause-mayby bring us all together. I wouldn’t begrudge working with Mr Willit–you never know what may take place.We must do something.

  2. I would suspect the situations are different and that the money is essentially already ‘used’ by the time it reaches the County. I dont think the source, PILT/taxes/grants/whatever, changes the funds’ tied-up-ness.

  3. John–I believe that the County does notknow just how much the feds are giving until the last moment. The County nmakes an educated guess by what they have been given in the past,
    Think a little bit about a small child –the more you give him the more he can find to spend it on as perhaps a multimillion County Maintance and a far out fairgrounds in a place some have called never-never land.
    Just trying to lighten-up our situation.
    Why did Dan change his mind? Does he hate Quartzsite so much? A little honey will go a long ways these days with straight-thinking people.
    I really do appreciate your effort in bringinging all togrther.
    P S -my spelling is not my strongest point-

  4. Thanks for your input. 🙂

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