Pima County has received $3.2 million from the U.S. government this year to compensate for the loss of property-tax revenue and for services provided on federally held land.
Payments are made to counties across the country because local governments aren’t able tax federal land, which includes national parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas.
“The federal government says they’re trying to be a good neighbor," said Robert Johnson, Pima County's budget manager. "And they realize that there’s a good deal of non-taxable land within the county. And what they’re trying to do is help some of the rural counties such as Pima County offset these costs."
The money doesn’t cover the full cost to the community, but does provide significant help, Johnson said.
“We use this to pay for roads that go through federal lands. We also use this for police protection on those roads and for things like search and rescue," he said.
Counties in Arizona are being paid a total of $34.5 million under the program, which is known as payment in lieu of taxes.
That’s the fourth highest allocation in the U.S.