This year Becker County received over $488,000 in payments in lieu of taxes from the DNR for its natural resources land, according to a DNR news release.

Otter Tail County received nearly $587,000, Hubbard County received over $982,000, Mahnomen county got about $150,000 and Clay County received about $84,500.

The payments are based on the amount of eligible acreage in each county.

Elsewhere in the region, Wadena County received nearly $123,000, Todd County got over $157,000 and Beltrami County (Bemidji) collected over $2.6 million.

In all, Minnesota’s 87 counties received about $30 million this year in state payments that help support public lands.

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State lands are not subject to local property taxes. As an alternative, a local government aid program called Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) provides funds to counties for state-owned, natural resource lands.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which calculates the payments based on a legislatively set formula, recently sent notification to counties about this year’s PILT payments.

Many of the public parks, trails, and forests that support Minnesota’s culture of outdoor recreation are owned by the state, and managed by the DNR.

“PILT payments compensate counties and local governments for their role in helping protect vital natural resources for all Minnesotans, by helping replace property tax revenue these jurisdictions might otherwise receive,” Joe Henderson, director of DNR’s Lands and Minerals Division, said in the news release. “This helps ensure that all people can enjoy the economic and recreational benefits of Minnesota’s landscape for years to come.”

Under state law, PILT payments provide funding to counties, townships, and school districts. Counties receive the payments and are responsible for distributing them to townships and local school districts.

The DNR website provides answers to frequently asked questions about each state-owned land type and the specific PILT payment rate, determined by state statute.

The modern PILT program in Minnesota began in 1979. The Minnesota Department of Revenue annually distributes the payments to counties. The amount, type, and location of state-owned land within each county’s boundaries determine PILT payments and how the funds are used.

County-by-county details about PILT payments are available from the Department of Revenue. Information about PILT is available on the DNR website.