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County Supervisors Advocate Hot Topics in Washington

March 11
23:59 2014

Transportation funding, support for forest management and immigration reform were among the hot topics the Coconino County Board of Supervisors advocated for during the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. this week.

Coconino County SupervisorsCounty officials also met with Arizona’s Congressional Delegation to discuss the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Under the program, the County is compensated for federal land within the County that is not taxable. Those funds are used for road maintenance, solid waste disposal, law enforcement and public health.

The County is concerned about the continued efforts in Congress to not reauthorize and fund key programs for counties. Funding such as PILT allows counties to provide critical services for our citizens. These funds are not subsidies and only help pay for a small portion of the services that counties are mandated by the federal government to provide. Our advocacy is key to ensuring our national leaders understand the importance of this funding for the County and our citizens.”–County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair Mandy Metzger

The County also discussed the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRS). Through SRS, the County receives more than $4 million to fund roads, schools and search and rescue efforts.

As we look to address some of our long-term infrastructure needs, such as transportation, SRS is an important part of this discussion,” said. “We need Congress to understand that due to the size, geography and land make-up of our county, these federal programs are the life blood of our counties.”–County Supervisor Liz Archuleta

Transportation and the re-authorization of the current transportation bill was a main focus during the Washington trip. The County and NACo support measures that provide revenue for transportation within the County and on tribal lands, in addition to funding school bus routes in tribal communities.

Increasing tribal road maintenance funding and providing the tribes with the opportunity and flexibility to maintain their roads is a win-win for all. We appreciate the time our Congressional delegation provided to understand this issue, as well as all of our county priorities.”–Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler

During agency meetings, the County relayed their support for opening up concessionaire agreements to ensure local governments are compensated for financial impacts from large federal projects and operations. Specifically, county officials met with National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis to discuss necessary legislative changes to address the needs of gateway communities.

County Supervisors pledge to continue to work with the Federal government and Arizona’s Congressional Delegation on priorities important to Coconino County citizens.

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