PERRY COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A Sept. 30 deadline is approaching for Congress to re-authorize federal transfer payments to counties which have large amounts of federal lands which cannot be taxed. Those payments come from two programs, the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS).
The payments won't be distributed until next year, but some county officials in Mississippi are concerned that Washington has not yet approved funding for the programs.
Dist. 5 Perry County Supervisor Lanny Mixon said those payments make up 14 percent of his county's budget and he'd like to see a long-term funding solution.
"(The payments) can go anywhere from a few thousand dollars in some counties, to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in others," said Mixon. "And each one of these counties are forced to submit their budgets and go through the budgeting process without really knowing if these federal payments are going to be funded," he said.
Congressman Steven Palazzo said he's confident the payments will be approved when Congress returns to work in November.
"I think administratively, this was just overlooked," Palazzo said. "I understand this is a significant amount to rural counties' budgets. It's very serious and it's an issue that we're going to make sure is addressed when we get back," he said.
75 of Mississippi's 82 counties receive federal transfer payments, as do about 1,900 other counties across the country.