Senator Edwards Proposes Compensation Formula For Counties With High Percentage of State Owned Land

A December 17 Cumberland Times-News article reported that Senator George Edwards will propose a formula that will provide consistent payments to a county where the State owns a high percentage of land within the county.  The article noted Allegany and Garrett Counties have the most amount of State-owned land, with 24 percent and 22 percent of acreage being State-owned respectively.  Such land is not taxed and cannot be developed.  State reimbursements to such counties have fluctuated and been unreliable over time.

Sen. George Edwards plans to propose a way to compensate counties for the limitations they face because of the high proportion of land owned by the state.  …

The senator hopes to stabilize the income by introducing legislation creating a set fee for the state to pay to counties to compensate for the control of the land. Edwards said he’d like to see a payment based on each 10,000 acres of state owned land. For instance, the state would pay $250,000 for the first 9,999 acres, then additional fees for state-owned acreage in 10,000-acre increments.

Payments could be tied to the consumer price index and adjusted based on economic conditions, Edwards said.