On Thursday, September 7, county officials and congressional staff came together for a briefing on the need to fully fund PILT and reauthorize SRS. NACo Executive Director Matt Chase opened the discussion with a presentation on PILT, along with a video explaining the importance of federal public lands and the PILT and SRS programs to counties. Members of Congress also spoke to the group, including:
- Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
- Representative Bruce Westerman (R-Ark. 04)
- Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah 01), Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee
- Representative Tom McClintock (R-Calif. 04)
Additionally, a diverse group of county officials spoke to the group about how PILT and SRS ensure the delivery of vital services to their communities, such as education, law enforcement, infrastructure repairs, and search and rescue operations. Four county officials addressed the briefing on the need to ensure a reliable stream of funds to public lands counties:
- NACo Immediate Past President Bryan Desloge, Commissioner, Leon County, Fla.
- WIR President Joel Bousman, Commissioner, Sublette County, Wyo.
- Becky Garland, County Manager, Graham County, N.C.
Participants heard real world examples of how counties use PILT and SRS dollars to provide key services to residents and visitors to public lands. Attendees saw a video of a recent helicopter rescue in Sublette County, Wyo., which was paid for with SRS dollars.