Sanpete joining suit to get PILT funds restored

Sanpete joining suit to get

PILT funds restored

James Tilson

Staff writer


            MANTI—Sanpete County is considering joining a class action lawsuit against the federal government for underpaid Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT).

            The lawsuit was begun by Kane County in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., alleging that the PILT payments for the fiscal years 2015 through 2017 were underpaid

            The PILT law was originally passed in 1976, and it provides for the federal government to pay local governments monies that the local governments could have expected to collect in property taxes on land organized by the federal government into “public lands.”

            On April 26, 2018, the Federal Claims Court judge filed an Order that found in favor of Kane County, finding that the federal government had underpaid the PILT payments over the alleged years.

The Order gave other counties wanting to join into the lawsuit until September 14, 2018 to “opt in” to the lawsuit. At this point, the only issue to be decided would be the amount the federal government underpaid.

At the last Sanpete County Commission meeting, County Attorney Kevin Daniels said that joining the lawsuit was a “no risk” opportunity for county to gain an award for very limited effort.

Daniels said he was confident the lawsuit would not “drag on,” although he could not say for sure how long it would take for the court to reach a final opinion. He said the parties to the case will submit briefs to the court regarding the amount of the award, and there might be arguments before the court reaches its decision.

The commission agreed to put the issue on its next agenda to decide whether to opt-in to the lawsuit.