In spring, WDFW made payments totaling $942,187 to 31 Washington counties for Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and local assessments on land owned by the department.

PILT payments are designed to compensate counties for the loss of local property taxes, which cannot be levied on state-owned lands. In most cases, these payments meet or exceed the amount counties would receive if the property were privately owned and classified as open space for agriculture or forestry.

In addition, WDFW pays annual assessments for weed control, fire protection, storm water control, irrigation, and other services to county governments and local districts.

For 2012, WDFW paid a total of $579,999 to 13 counties for land holdings covering 496,098 acres. The department also paid $362,188 to 28 counties for services provided by local taxing districts.

This year’s total PILT payments were down by about half from last year, due to budget reductions approved by the state Legislature. The state’s new operating budget temporarily freezes PILT at the level paid in 2009, before several counties increased their state payments by shifting to an open-space rate.

Under state law (RCW 77.12.203 ), counties may choose to base PILT collections on one of three different rates:

  • The rate paid for private land in open-space classification, or
  • 70 cents per acres, or
  • The amount of PILT paid on the parcel in 1984

In all cases, PILT payments are based on WDFW property covering at least 100 contiguous acres. Land managed but not owned by WDFW is not compensable under PILT, nor is the value of buildings or other structures, game farms, fish hatcheries or tidelands on acreage owned by the department.

As an alternative to PILT, counties may elect to retain game violation fines and forfeitures collected by WDFW within their borders.

The table shown here lists all 39 Washington counties, the number of acres eligible for PILT and their payment in 2012.

COUNTY

PILT ACRES

PILT PAYMENTS

LOCAL ASSESSMENTS

TOTAL

ADAMS

860

$1,909

$15,776

$17,685

ASOTIN

33,646

$36,123

$0

$36,123

BENTON

0

$0

$3,438

$3,438

CHELAN

26,552

$24,757

$936

$25,693

CLALLAM

0

$0

$2,074

$2,074

CLARK

0

$0

$14,280

$14,280

COLUMBIA

11,270

$7,795

$1,695

$9,490

COWLITZ

0

$0

$930

$930

DOUGLAS

0

$0

$0

$0

FERRY

6,866

$6,781

$992

$7,773

FRANKLIN

0

$0

$4,522

$4,522

GARFIELD

6,934

$4,840

$555

$5,395

GRANT

39,076

$37,443

$35,494

$72,937

GRAYS HARBOR

0

$0

$0

$0

ISLAND

0

$0

$0

$0

JEFFERSON

0

$0

$0

$0

KING

0

$0

$41,417

$41,417

KITSAP

0

$0

$1,616

$1,616

KITTITAS

173,714

$143,974

$11,214

$155,188

KLICKITAT

13,638

$21,906

$980

$22,886

LEWIS

0

$0

$0

$0

LINCOLN

19,340

$13,535

$2,323

$15,858

MASON

0

$0

$168

$168

OKANOGAN

76,032

$151,402

$17,576

$168,978

PACIFIC

0

$0

$988

$988

PEND ORIELLE

3,598

$3,309

$0

$3,309

PIERCE

0

$0

$9,579

$9,579

SAN JUAN

0

$0

$56

$56

SKAGIT

0

$0

$40,333

$40,333

SKAMANIA

0

$0

$0

$0

SNOHOMISH

0

$0

$45,987

$45,987

SPOKANE

0

$0

$1,832

$1,832

STEVENS

0

$0

$0

$0

THURSTON

0

$0

$43,774

$43,774

WAHKIAKUM

0

$0

$0

$0

WALLA WALLA

0

$0

$12

$12

WHATCOM

0

$0

$1,203

$1,203

WHITMAN

0

$0

$0

$0

YAKIMA

84,571

$126,225

$62,437

$188,662

TOTALS

496,098

$579,999

$362,188

$942,187

Logo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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