Warren County is among 72 Mississippi counties that will receive a payment in lieu of taxes from the federal government. The payment, in the amount of $11,223, is to offset what the county could have collected in property taxes had the land been in private hands. The federal government owns 3,840 acres in Warren County, which are tax exempt.
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced the payment Tuesday. The total of PILT payments to all 72 counties in Mississippi comes to $2.32 million for 2020.
The U.S. Department of the Interior issues the PILT payments to counties, with local officials retaining authority to allocate the funds that can be used to support public safety, public schools, social services or infrastructure.
“While Mississippians appreciate that the federal government doesn’t own vast tracks property in our state like it does in other states, Mississippi is proudly home to national forests, wildlife refuges and military installations,” Hyde-Smith said in a statement. “These qualify host counties for welcomed PILT funds to offset revenues lost from hosting tax-exempt federal property.”
Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the PILT program.
The largest FY2020 PILT payments for Mississippi include $255,000 to Lafayette County, $191,955 to Yalobusha County, $143,896 to Pike County, $129,000 to Grenada County, $124,147 to Sharkey County and $102,897 to Wayne County. A complete list of the PILT payments to Mississippi is available here.
PILT payments are issued annually for tax-exempt federal lands administered by Interior Department agencies, including the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The payments also account for lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service, as well as federal water projects and some military installations. Awards are made on a formula based on population, revenue-sharing payments and the amount of federal land in a county.