Chaves County has received about $3.38 million from the U.S. government for federal lands in the area for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) distributed by the U.S. Department of Interior is a significant source of revenue for the county, and this year’s amount is about a 2% increase over previous years, said county Chief Financial Officer Joe Sedillo.
The full amount provided to Chaves County is $3,375,473 for about 1.2 million acres of federal land within its borders. Thirty-one other counties in New Mexico also received PILT payments for a total of about $41.36 million for about 22 million untaxed federal properties owned by various U.S. agencies, according to an announcement Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-Santa Fe). The only county not to have received the funds is Curry County.
Nationwide, 1,900 local governments received about $514.7 million in PILT funds, according to a Monday release by the Interior Department. The federal government earns money off of the federal lands by leasing them for oil and gas development, livestock grazing or timber harvesting or by allowing them to be used for other activities.
PILT revenues become part of the county’s general operating funds, which pay for roads, public safety, the county detention center and other county services and operations.