Listen:

Download as MP3

Pima County wants the federal government to reinstate a $3 million payment for county services provided on federal land.

Elected supervisors from the state's 15 counties sent a letter to Congress asking for the payments, which are an alternative to the U.S. government paying property taxes, to be added back in to the budget for this year.

The payments cover the cost of county services on federal land, such as road repair, or law enforcement, said Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll. They shouldn't be eliminated because they existed for a reason, he said.

“It’s important that we look back to when those agreements were signed, and it’s important that we keep those agreements," he said.

Federal land accounts for 42 percent of all the land in Arizona. County services on federal land may include a rescue operation at Sabino Canyon or Mt. Lemmon, Carroll said.

“All of our search and rescue in the federal forest areas, as well as our other services, whether it’s combating forest fires or working with general populations as far as we can when it comes to preventing forest fires and preventing other uses on federal land when it comes to contraband," he said.

Pima County also deals with a costly federal issue unique to counties along the international border.

“Illegal immigration is another where we have exorbitant costs that’s related and we certainly look forward to our sheriff department as well as other transportation and infrastructure being respected and being funded," Carroll said.

Supervisors from each of the state's 15 counties approved a resolution asking Congress to restore the funding, and the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a similar resolution this week.