Mesa County to sue federal government over PILT money

Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 9:30 PM MDT
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Mesa County is suing the federal government for more than $100,000. They're joining a class action lawsuit with Kane County, Utah, and other governments saying the feds didn't pay enough PILT money.

"Congress didn't appropriate enough money for PILT to make the payment like they should have,” said Mesa County Commissioner John Justman.

PILT, payment in lieu of taxes, is money that counties get from the federal government when there is federal land that can't be taxed.

"Mesa County is 72 percent federal land,” said Justman.

That is all land that Mesa County can't tax. There is a formula for how much funding each county gets.

"It is by how many acres you have of federal land in your county,” said Justman.

This adds up to the county getting around $3.3 million per year. They said the county didn't get as much as they should have from 2015 to 2017.

"It could be the neighborhood of $100,000 or 500,000 they underpaid us,” said Justman.

Mesa County isn’t the only one. The county is joining a class action lawsuit with Kane County, Utah and other local governments.

"We figured this is worth pursuing payment so we engaged the services of this lawsuit in D.C. to frame the thing,” said Kane County Commissioner, Jim Matson."We're stubborn and hard-headed and we feel like they arbitrarily decided not to pay the full amount."

"It's nice to receive the money if you're entitled to it,” said Justman.

Commissioner Justman said the next step for Mesa County is to take the resolution and send it to the law firm in D.C. and let them know that the county is on board.