March 7, 2019
Yavapai County Supervisor Jack R. Smith serves on the Legislative Policy Committee and is the Second Vice President of the County Supervisors Association. Supervisor Smith attended the 2019 National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative conference held in Washington D.C. on March 2-6, 2019.
The NACo Legislative Conference brings together nearly 2,000 elected and appointed county officials to focus on federal policy issues that impact counties and our residents. Attendees have the opportunity to engage in second-to-none policy and educational sessions, interact with federal officials and participate in congressional briefings and meetings.
Supervisor Smith attended numerous meetings that included topics such as Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), Secure Rural School (SRS), Mental Health concerns, affordable housing and Border Security.
PILT are Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. PILT is a critical piece of county budgets, a failure to secure a long-term solution for these funds will continue to imperil Yavapai County’s ability to fulfill our statutorily-mandated functions.
The SRS program aids rural counties and school districts affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal lands. Counties rely on SRS payments to provide numerous critical services including infrastructure, conservation projects, search and rescue missions and fire prevention programs. If not reauthorized for FY 2020 and beyond it will create a dramatic budgetary shortfall.
Supervisor Smith stated, “The PILT and SRS programs need to be reauthorized as they are necessary funding for counties and without them Yavapai County would have to fund essential services through the General Fund or possibly cut services.”
During a meeting with Arizona’s U.S. Senators, the Honorable Martha McSally and the Honorable Kyrsten Sinema discussion’s focused on border security. Supervisor Smith expressed his concerns about strengthening our Border Security and ensuring our Law Enforcement Officers have the funding they need to successfully do their job.
Supervisor Smith stated upon his return, “I am glad to be back in Yavapai County, the trip to Washington D.C. discussing the impacts of federal policy to local government was valuable for the future of Yavapai County.”