Imperial, California - This week, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors joined the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) in commending the recent action of Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) for proclaiming his support of the Federal Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program by joining as a signatory to Representatives Jared Polis’ (CO-2) and Chris Steward’s (UT-2) ‘Dear Colleague’ letter requesting full funding for the Federal PILT program for Fiscal Year 2016.

“Federal PILT is a critical funding source for California’s counties, particularly as many rural counties contain significant federal landholdings, and Federal PILT counts as a sizable share of increasingly shrinking rural county budgets,” said District 3 Supervisor Michael Kelley.  “Imperial County is very grateful for Congressman Vargas’ leadership in urging his colleagues to support Federal PILT to protect vital local services.”

More than half of the land in Imperial County is owned by federal agencies.  Federal PILT payments help off-set the loss of property tax and provide funds for vital services provided on federal land, such as law enforcement, firefighting, search-and-rescue operations, construction and maintenance of roads and many other local services.  Last year, Imperial County received almost $3.3 million from the federal government due to the PILT program.  Should reauthorization and funding of the PILT program not be included in the federal government’s FY 2016 budget, the County may have to reduce its budgetary commitments or reduce the services they currently provide.  Imperial County, along with other counties, associations and organizations, including RCRC, are working together to advocate for continued funding of the Federal PILT program.