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Nye County receives $3 million from federal government

The vast amount of federally-owned land in Nye County may not generate taxable revenue on a yearly basis, yet it recently brought a chunk of cash into the county’s budget.

As part of a second disbursement of Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT funding, from the United States Department of Interior that was announced by Gov. Brian Sandoval last week, Nye County received an additional $241,550 in October as a compensation for federal lands that don’t deliver tax revenue.

PILT payments are made annually to local governments that have non-taxable federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and for federal water projects and some military installations.

About 83 percent of Nevada’s land and 92 percent of land in Nye County are controlled by the federal government.

Along with the June payment of $2,834,250, this year’s total for Nye County comes to over $3 million. County officials said both payments will become part of the annual revenue that is budgeted into the county’s general fund.

“It can be used for any operating expenses,” Nye County Commission Chairperson Lorinda Wichman said.

Over the last five years, Nye County cut almost 90 employees due to budgetary issues. The county’s general fund budget, which pays for day-to-day operations, is down by $3.9 million from its peak in 2009, according to the recent data. To offset some of the budgetary shortfalls, the county officials recently have been looking at several fund-cutting measures, including slashing funds for the Pahrump Valley Museum and the Central Nevada Museum in Tonopah.

With the total payment of $3,075,800, Nye County stands behind Clark County that received $3.3 million, Washoe County, $3.4 million, and Elko County $3.4 million.

“PILT payments provide local governments with the necessary funds to pay for critical infrastructure needs in cities and towns across Nevada. Additionally, it allows local leaders to prepare to meet the demands of our growing communities,” Sandoval said. “I would like to thank the members of our congressional delegation for their hard work in securing this additional money. I would also like to recognize the Department of the Interior for fulfilling its obligation to compensate local communities for the land owned by the federal government in Nevada.”

Disbursements for PILT are based on population, receipt sharing payments and the amount of federal land within an affected county.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77.

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