Local News

Feds announce PILT payout for fiscal year 2013

More than 96 percent of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough is federal land, including national forest.

Ketchikan will receive a little more than a million dollars from the U.S. Department of the Interior through the payment in lieu of taxes program. That’s about $20,000 less than last year’s PILT payment, which is money the U.S. government provides to local governments for federal land within their jurisdiction.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough includes about 3 million acres of federally owned land. Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst said that’s the vast majority of property.

“The federal government owns 96.5 percent of all land within the corporate boundaries of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, so it’s certainly fitting and appropriate for the federal government to make payments in lieu of taxes in support of local services, since their properties are removed from the tax roll,” he said

Bockhorst said the amount designated for Ketchikan was almost exactly the amount the borough had anticipated in its 2013 budget. The concern is that the program has not yet been extended for 2014.

“This is, at this point in time, the end of the payments for federal payments in lieu of taxes,” he said. “We hope and anticipate that there will be some funding in FY14, either through a renewal of the federal PILT program, or the Secure Rural Schools program.”

Bockhorst said the borough projects about $800,000 in 2014 revenue through one or more of those federal programs. The borough received about $2 million from both programs for fiscal year 2013.

On Prince of Wales Island, local governments will share the approximately $650,000 payment for that island’s nearly 2 million acres of federal land. That’s also down about $20,000 from last year.

Statewide, the PILT program will pay about $26.5 million for about 225 million acres in 30 municipalities. That’s down about $400,000 from last year, but still up by about a million from two years ago.

The PILT program makes a bigger difference in Alaska than much of the Lower 48, because so much of the state is federally owned. Compare Alaska’s payout to Ohio, for example. The entire Buckeye state will receive about $550,000.

California, though, will receive the highest payout: more than $41 million for its approximately 44 million acres. According to the Interior Department, PILT amounts are determined by acreage and population.

This year’s nationwide payout is about $400 million.

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