Johnson County Supervisors join class-action lawsuit for federal land payments

The Board of Supervisors voted to join a class-action lawsuit to receive payments for federal land under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act.

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Johnson County Supervisors join class-action lawsuit for federal land payments

Johnson County supervisors listen to public comment on Oct. 9, 2017.

Johnson County supervisors listen to public comment on Oct. 9, 2017.

File photo

Johnson County supervisors listen to public comment on Oct. 9, 2017.

File photo

File photo

Johnson County supervisors listen to public comment on Oct. 9, 2017.

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

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The Board of Supervisors voted to join a class-action lawsuit to receive payments for federal land under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 21 voted to join a class-action lawsuit seeking repayments from the federal government for money owed to local governments.

Federal land in local jurisdictions is not taxable by the local government. The Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act requires the federal government to pay local governments to make up for the lost tax revenue.

The class-action lawsuit, filed by Kane County, Utah, claims that local governments across the United States in 2015 and 2016 were not paid what the act legally requires. Any local government that was affected can opt into the lawsuit and seek compensation.

Johnson County falls into this category because the Rock Island District, which encompasses Coralville Reservoir, is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Supervisor Janelle Rettig said the lawsuit has been settled, but by joining now, Johnson County still expects to get some money back.

The supervisors noted a number of expenses that are made on the land, including sheriff patrols and ambulances.

The motion passed unanimously. No exact dollar amount for the payout was delineated in the meeting, but Rettig expects the number to be in the low thousands.

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