Commissioner Alfredo Montoya Re-Appointed to Public Lands Steering Committee

Commissioner Alfredo Montoya has been re-appointed to the National Association of Counties (NACO) Public Lands Steering Committee for 2013.  NACO is an organization, which represents counties across the country and influences public policy favorable to county government. The Public Lands Steering Committee is charged with all matters relating to federally owned public lands including federal land managed programs (BLM and Forest Service) natural resource revenue sharing payments, payments in lieu of taxes and property tax immunity concerns.

“I have served on this committee because the issues addressed are extremely important to Rio Arriba County,” said Commissioner Montoya. “Because close to 60 percent of Rio Arriba’s 5,800 square miles is made up of federally managed land, it is important to be in a position to influence federal public policy as it relates to how this public lands are managed.” According to Montoya, of special interest to Rio Arriba County is insuring that the Payment in Lieu of taxes is sufficiently funded and that it is re-authorized every five years.  A sizable percentage of Rio Arriba’s County budget is derived from the federal governments payment in lieu of taxes. 

Also important to Forest Counties like Rio Arriba is the Secure Rural Schools program.  This program provides substantial funding to school districts in forest counties to offset the loss of revenue due to reduced timber harvesting. “All school districts in Rio Arriba benefit financially from this program,” added Montoya.

Commissioner Montoya has been a strong advocate for continuation of federal programs that assist rural counties like Rio Arriba.