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Minnesota counties receive nearly $36 million in PILT payments

Minnesota counties have received PILT payments annually since 1979 in place of property taxes on 5.6 million acres of state-managed lands and 2.8 million acres of county-managed tax-forfeited lands.

Sarah Strommen - Commissioner.jpg
DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen
Contributed / Minnesota DNR
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Minnesota’s 87 counties recently received $35.9 million in annual state payments that help support public lands, the Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday, Sept. 19.

The state’s Department of Revenue recently distributed annual payments for Payment in Lieu of Taxes -- or PILT, for short -- a property tax relief program that offsets tax revenues not collected on public lands. Counties have received PILT payments annually since 1979 in place of property taxes on 5.6 million acres of state-managed lands and 2.8 million acres of county-managed tax-forfeited lands. Money for the payments comes from the state’s general fund.

Every county in Minnesota has public lands within its borders and receives an annual PILT payment. In July, counties received anywhere from $21,443 in Red Lake County up to $3,792,842 in St. Louis County.

“PILT is an important and consistent revenue source for counties, but the benefits of public lands for Minnesotans go far beyond these annual payments,” Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a statement. “Public lands support local economies through timber and mineral production, provide space for outdoor recreation and tourism, create habitat for wildlife and help provide clean air and water.”

The state makes PILT payments on public lands including state parks and forests, scientific and natural areas and wildlife management areas, school trust lands, Consolidated-Conservation lands as well as county-managed tax-forfeited lands. Even lands that could never be developed and placed on the tax rolls are included in PILT calculations used to compensate counties.

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Payment rates vary according to land type and range from $2 per acre, to three-quarters of 1% of appraised value. Payment for Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park is assessed at 1.5% of the appraised value of the land.

Here’s a look at PILT payments for other counties in far northwest Minnesota:

  • Beltrami County: $2,632,150.39.

  • Clearwater County: $514,470.34.

  • Kittson County: $268,207.37.

  • Lake of the Woods County: $1,664,146.88.

  • Marshall County: $603,897.12.

  • Pennington County: $28,486.39.

  • Polk County: $169,074.83.

  • Roseau County: $898,381.34.

A complete listing of PILT payments for Minnesota counties is available on the Minnesota Department of Revenue website at revenue.state.mn.us.

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