More Counties Join PILT Class-Action Lawsuit Against the Feds

A view of the Book Cliffs near Palisade, Colorado in Mesa County.

A view of the Book Cliffs near Palisade, Colorado in Mesa County. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Fact-checking Trump’s claims on Calif. wildfires … a big N.M. groundwater ruling … and Detroit’s dismal rental inspection compliance.

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. Budget and finance news leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup but there's a lot more. Scroll down for more news from places like Wilmington, North Carolina; Utah County, Utah; and the Plains of St. Augustin in New Mexico.

BUDGET & FINANCE | PILT funding, or payments in lieu of taxes, is relied on by many county governments—especially in western states—that have considerable acreage of non-taxable federal land in their jurisdictions. It doesn’t usually make much news beyond state and local finance wonks, but there’s a class-action lawsuit worth noting. More counties are joining litigation led by Kane County, Utah alleging the federal government isn’t paying enough PILT funding. Mesa County, Colorado and Campbell County, Wyoming are among the jurisdictions that are joining the PILT funding legal fight. "We're stubborn and hard-headed and we feel like they arbitrarily decided not to pay the full amount," according Kane County Commissioner Jim Matson. Kane County initiated the litigation against the federal government in June 2017, which was certified as a class action a few months ago. Mesa County officials argue that the feds owe their jurisdiction at least $100,000; in Campbell County, officials are looking to recoup $25,000 in PILT funding they say they’re owed. [KKCO / KJCT; Casper Star-Tribune]

  • Fort Worth, Texas: City officials are considering cutting local property tax rates by 2 cents as part of current budget negotiations, but doing that may prove to be tricky if they’re also trying to shore up the Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund. [Star Telegram]
  • Lincoln, Nebraska: A 98-page report from state auditors found issues with $26 million in child welfare spending, including “payments made in error, overpayments, unauthorized payments, unreasonable costs” and others. [Omaha World-Herald]
  • Utah County, Utah: County commissioners have added $1 million to the sheriff’s budget to cover the medical expenses “primarily accrued by one Utah County Jail inmate.” [Daily Herald]

PUBLIC SAFETY | Just as the wildfires in western states have dominated recent news headlines—and for good reason considering how destructive they’ve been—officials back east have been dealing with considerable amounts of rainfall in recent weeks. Places like Wilmington, North Carolina are waterlogged after two weeks of rain, which has flooded roads, blocked drains and caused sinkholes to form. In the Baltimore area, flash flood warnings were in effect Tuesday evening following a new round of storms that flooded Pulaski Highway near Middle River. [Wilmington Star News; WJZ; Reading Eagle]

  • Sacramento, California: In a recent tweet, President Trump said that California’s monster wildfires can’t be blamed on environmental laws, which “aren’t allowing massive amount[s] of readily-available water to be properly utilized.” But that’s news to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "We have had no issues accessing water to fight the fires," according to CalFire spokesman Scott McLean wrote in an email. "This year’s changing weather pattern is leading to more severe and destructive wildfires." [Politifact California]
  • Marshalltown, Iowa: The U.S. Small Business Administration has set up an office to process loans for rebuilding after this central Iowa city was hit by July’s EF-3 strength tornado. [Radio Iowa]
  • Seattle, Washington: City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is pushing a resolution that would mandate that American Medical Response, the city-contracted ambulance service, boost its pay for emergency medical technicians, some who barely make above the minimum wage. [The Stranger]

STATE GOVERNMENT | A top water-rights official in New Mexico denied an application from Augustin Plains Ranch LLC to pump groundwater from the Plains of St. Augustin due to a “striking absence of information” in how the water would be actually be used. It’s “the latest twist in the 11-year quest” by the company to “siphon off 54,000 acre-feet, or 17.6 billion gallons, of water annually.” [Santa Fe New Mexican]

  • Waco, Texas: On Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda for the Texas Legislature when lawmakers reconvene next year: bail reform. On Tuesday, Abbott announced his proposal for the Damon Allen Act, named for a highway patrol officer gunned down during a traffic stop in Fairfield. [Texas Tribune]
  • San Francisco, California: Golden State residents and lawmakers are frustrated with long wait times at the California Department of Motor Vehicles, where at one point there was  at least a 90-day wait for a driver’s license appointment at the DMV office in San Francisco. [San Francisco Chronicle]

CITY HALLS | In Detroit, Michigan, most landlords in Detroit aren’t complying with the city’s new rental property rules that require them to have their units inspected and the first wave of $750 tickets started going out last week. [The Detroit News]

  • Nashville, Tennessee: After questions were raised over how Metro Nashville public schools were conducting water-quality tests, Mayor Dave Briley intervened to strengthen testing procedures to where his office believes the the new protocols are “among the most proactive in the nation.” [WTVF]  
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: After five years of community-driven discussion on how Honolulu can be more friendly to aging populations, the City Council is considering Bill 54, where “city departments would be required to incorporate age-friendly practices into all programs, services, facilities and projects.” [Honolulu Civil Beat]
  • Portland, Oregon: Maintenance crews spent Tuesday morning scrubbing anti-ICE graffiti that had been sprayed overnight on columns and walls at Portland City Hall. [The Oregonian / OregonLive.com]
  • Tempe, Arizona: A city investigation into abusive workplace conduct in the Tempe Public Works Department found two men to be “aggressive managers who routinely used inappropriate language and bullied colleagues.” [Phoenix New Times
  • Yakima, Washington: The Humane Society has cut ties with the city of Yakima over its municipal rules that prohibit pit bulls. [Yakima Herald-Republic]

ALSO on Route Fifty:

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

NEXT STORY: House Bill to Expand Tax Credit Program Would Target Rural Areas

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.