The Ely Times

Seventeen governments across the State of Nevada will receive more than $26 million in federal funding.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke with the Interior Department pledged more than $464 million to local governments across the country via payments in lieu of taxes better known as PILT.  An increase of $802,376 from the previous fiscal year.

White Pine will be receiving $1,275,787 due to the 5,192,431 acres in federal land, Eureka will receive $349,478 for its 2,156,826 acres of land. The largest beneficiary of the PILT funding for 2017 will be Elko County,  according to the Interior Department’s website. It will receive $3,559,616 for a total of more than 7.9 million acres in federal land.

Sen. Dean Heller has continuously stressed the importance of the PILT program.

“Given that 85 percent of Nevada’s lands are managed by the federal government, the PILT program makes it possible for communities in Nevada to maintain critical public services across large swaths of federal land,” Heller said. “This additional funding will help ensure that Nevada’s rural communities can continue to provide public services such as law enforcement and road maintenance.

“As a strong supporter of the PILT program, I thank Secretary Zinke for recognizing my state’s needs and reaffirming his commitment to Nevada’s rural communities.”

The department collects more than $9.6 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as livestock grazing, timber harvesting and oil and gas leasing.

In 1977, PILT payments began, and approximately $8.5 billion has been distributed to states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Individual county payments vary from year to year as a result of changes in acreage data that is updated yearly by the federal agency administering the land.

Prior year, Federal Revenue Sharing payments reported yearly by the Governor of each state; and population data, which is updated using information from the U.S Census Bureau.

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto also welcomed the pledge of funding noting that this was the largest amount the Silver State has received.

“I urge the administration to continue to invest in all our communities and support this indispensable program that has been critical to Nevada’s rural economic development.”

Chairman of the White Pine County Commission Richard Howe noted that this money was a pleasant surprise. A portion of the money that White Pine received will be earmarked for the jail and courthouse expansion.

“These investments are one of the ways the federal government can fulfill its role of being a good neighbor to local communities,” Zinke said. “President Trump has made job creation and opportunity in rural areas a top priority for his Administration and strongly supported the PILT program.”