Federal checks in the mail to Nevada counties

The federal check is in the mail for Nevada's counties, which will get a total of $14.1 million under the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program this year.

In states where the federal government owns large percentages of land, payments in lieu of taxes compensates them for the money they can't collect in property taxes. In Nevada, the federal government owns 85 percent of the land.

While the amount is 2.9 percent more than Nevada received in 2005, it is less than the 4.2 percent national inflation rate for the year ended May 30.

The $13.7 million received in 2005 was also less of a percentage increase than inflation - 1.5 percent compared to 2.8 percent for the same period.

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., said he was pleased the appropriation increased but said lawmakers in states like Nevada must continue fighting to raise PILT levels. Gibbons and the other members of Nevada's congressional delegation, along with lawmakers from other states with high percentages of federal land, have long argued the PILT payments are far below the amounts that would fairly compensate for lost property tax revenues.

They have been battling attempts by the Bush administration and some other members of Congress to lower the total payments for several years.

Gibbons said the battle over next year's payments has already begun with the proposed Interior Appropriations Act again reducing PILT payments. He and representatives from Utah, West Virginia and Colorado are seeking an amendment to increase the amount.

Although the total appropriated to Nevada for 2006 increased, three Nevada counties - Churchill, Esmeralda and Eureka - will actually see their funding shrink. And the increases for several other Nevada counties are minimal - just $352 for Storey County, less than $2,000 for Douglas.

The largest payment will go to Washoe County - $1.94 million, followed by $1.93 million to Clark and $1.8 million to Elko.

In western Nevada, the biggest check goes to Lyon County, at $1.25 million. Carson City will receive $70,265, and Douglas $388,218.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

Payment in lieu of taxes

County Payment Change

since 2005

Carson City $70,265 $3,544

Churchill $1,230,360 -$5,866

Clark $1,938,337 $37,605

Douglas $388,218 $1,854

Elko $1,817,553 $33,117

Esmeralda $79,527 -$2,393

Eureka $137,957 -$6,501

Humboldt $961,407 $102,189

Lander $486,107 $8,718

Lincoln $419,802 $12,684

Lyon $1,250,797 $21,008

Mineral $463,696 $21,456

Nye $1,713,019 $88,375

Pershing $546,255 $9,783

Storey $21,044 $352

Washoe $1,943,470 $34,845

White Pine $668,158 $43,148

TOTAL: $14,135,972 $403,909


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