Virtual press tour: Counties call on Congress for action on key public lands programs |

Virtual press tour: Counties call on Congress for action on key public lands programs

WASHINGTON — County leaders will give a virtual tour of public lands projects and equipment funded by the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs and call on Congress to fully fund these critical programs on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt many unforeseen consequences on our nation. But the public health and economic crisis has brought one of our nation’s treasures to the forefront of our awareness – our public lands. Under public health restrictions, one place Americans can still flock to are our national forests and parks. This summer, eager to find solace and connect with nature in these trying times, Americans visited in droves, significantly increasing demand for county services.

Sixty-two percent of the nation’s counties contain federal lands. The PILT program helps to offset costs incurred for county services — including road and bridge upkeep, public safety and emergency medical services — provided to the users of untaxable federal public lands. SRS assists national forest counties that have seen sharp reductions in revenue from reduced federal timber harvests with funding for infrastructure maintenance, education, search and rescue operations, and landscape health projects. This support is especially critical as these counties contend with lower tax revenues from the economic slowdown and increased costs for providing services.

Without congressional action, the PILT and SRS programs will expire on Sept. 30.

WHO: Commissioner Greg Chilcott – Ravalli County, Mont., President, NACo Western Interstate Region

Supervisor Liz Archuleta, Coconino County, Ariz.

Commissioner Joel Bousman – Sublette County, Wyo.

Commissioner Connie Orr – Graham County, N.C.

Jonathan Shuffield – Associate Legislative Director, National Association of Counties

WHAT: Virtual tour of public lands projects funded by Payments in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools programs, including a search and rescue helicopter, an advance life support ambulance, election administration, invasive species removal, road maintenance and teacher training in rural schools

WHEN: Sept. 9, 2020, 11 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Zoom Meeting

Please RSVP here. You will receive the Zoom access information via email.

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