KINGMAN — The county supervisors voted Monday to create a detailed report on the economic benefit of transferring federal public land to the county.
The board voted to develop a comprehensive report on the options to transfer public lands to private hands instead of receiving Payment in Lieu of Taxes to the county. District 5 Sup. Steve Moss of Fort Mohave said the report would be more detailed that a recent report issued by Yuma County.
Moss said the county would work with County Assessor Ron Nicholson on providing information of property tax revenue from the secondary school, fire and flood control districts if Bureau of Land Management lands were transferred to the county tax rolls.
Moss said that public land transfers would not include tribal lands, national parks or forest lands but mostly BLM lands. BLM land could be made available for private economic development and add to the county’s property tax revenue.
District 2 Sup. Hildy Angius said this is the beginning of a movement by western states to take back BLM lands for economic opportunities. PILT money may not be available in the future with the economic state of the state and federal governments.
Mohave County has received about $3.14 million in PILT money for the current 2013-14 fiscal year and about $3.2 million each for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years.
Federal lands comprise about 71 percent of the 8.6 million acres of land in Mohave County with BLM owning about 55 percent. About 17.1 percent of county land is privately owned. State lands in the county amount to 6.5 percent. Tribal lands amount to 5 percent. The National Park Service owns 13.3 percent in Mohave County.
District 4 supervisor candidate Jack Ehrhardt previously said large sections of unused lands in the county are already privately owned and are not being developed. The board needs to stimulate the economic growth on these lands by bringing in new businesses and jobs.
Sierra Club’s chapter president in Arizona Sandy Bahr also argued that Arizona and Mohave County voters overwhelming rejected privatizing lands when it went before voters in 2012.