Bill aims to increase feds’ property taxes
If you’re preparing to pay your annual property tax bill, you probably would like to have the same property tax rate that Uncle Sam gets when tax time comes due.It’s less than a $1 per acre, based on the federal ‘Payment In Lieu of Taxes’ paid by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. The former federal agency owns 235,000 acres in the county while the Forest Service owns approximately 600,000 – that’s 75 percent of the county’s 848,592 acres.Eagle County received $841,296 this year, up slightly from last year. Payments to the 64 counties in Colorado totaled $17.6 million. The congressionally authorized payment-in-lieu program to began in 1976 after it became evident that counties with large federal holdings could not collect sufficient taxes to support their services.Payments are based on a complicated formula that includes population, federal acreage, the Consumer Price Index and other factors.”We certainly don’t get enough,” said Jack Ingstad, Eagle County administrator. “We supply lots of service to federal lands.”The payments totals less than 0.8 percent of the county’s $100 million annual budget. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction, has introduced legislation to increase or “fully fund” the payments.Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.