WASHINGTON, D.C. — Umatilla County is getting a tick more than $1 million in federal funds from the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program.

Morrow County will receive $376,464, and Union County to the east is getting more that $1.6 million.

The U.S. Department of the Interior on Wednesday announced $552.8 million to local governments nationwide to help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries. Oregon’s 36 counties are getting $36.9 million.

The makes the average payment a bit more than $1 million. Clatsop County in the state’s northwest corner receives the smallest payment, $4,072, and Klamath County in the south receives the largest amount, more than $3.1 million.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden in a news release stated the funding for 2018 represents the largest amount ever in the 40-year history of the PILT program. He said the funds are critical to help Oregon’s rural communities have well-functioning schools, law enforcement and infrastructure.

Umatilla County socks its PILT payments into a fund to offset the rising cost of the state’s Public Employee Retirement System.

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