RCRC urges state to make past due payments to counties; more than $17 million owed
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – The Rural County Representatives of California is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to honor the state’s legal and financial obligations to counties related to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s payment in lieu of taxes.
RCRC requests that the state include current and past due payments in the 2014-15 state budget and resume the annual payment in lieu of taxes – or PILT – payments as legally obliged.
“Counties across the state are doing everything in their power to reduce expenses and tighten budgets to fund critical programs and services for residents,” said Nate Beason, RCRC first vice chair and Nevada County supervisor. “All the while, the state owes 36 California counties more than $17 million in past due PILT payments. The administration has indicated that paying off California’s debts is one of their top priorities. These past due PILT payments are one of those debts.”
The Department of Fish and Wildlife has neglected to make annual PILT payments in more than a decade, according to RCRC.
According to a tally of payments RCRC provided to Lake County News, approximately $17,130,473 is owed by the state to the rural counties RCRC represents, including $1,544,530 for fiscal year 2013-14.
Lake County is owed approximately $199,579 for the 10-year period, and $16,883 for the current fiscal year.
California PILT was established in 1949 to offset adverse impacts to county property tax revenues that result when the State acquires private property for wildlife management areas.
Fish and Game Code Section 1504 specifies that when income is derived directly from real property acquired and operated by the state as wildlife management areas, the Department of Fish and Wildlife shall pay annually to the county in which the property is located an amount equal to the county taxes levied upon the property at the time title was transferred to the state.