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DC Commissioner Lund Attends MACo Conference


Mikel Lund

Daniels County Commissioner

The Montana Association of Counties (MACo) Midwinter Conference was held February 20-24 in Helena, which I attended On Monday— Senator Lang came to the hotel and had breakfast with Commissioners. He eluded to a bill not yet introduced that may benefit counties including Daniels County. SB 442 was introduced a few days later, to allow marijuana tax revenue to be used for county road maintenance. The bill is in the first house and out of committee.

The Agriculture Committee, announced that Maureen Wicks, (former Liberty County commissioner)) is now with USDA Local Rural Development program in Bozeman. She may be a good resource for grants and funding. Leslie Robinson, was present, she will received her confirmation for the FWP committee the next day. She just came back from DC, where the talk is about the first $1Trillion Farm bill. She reported that Agriculture provided only 10% of the greenhouse gases. Also that the Feds are looking at a Federal ID tag for proof of Bangs vaccination.

Public Lands Committee, Todd Devlin, Prairie County Commissioner, and Chairman of National Association of Counties (NACo) Public Lands Committee spoke. He is also known and well respected as the expert and guru of Federal PILT - Payment In Lieu of Taxes). He was instrumental and the lead person for everyone to receive Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency fund. Treasury had funds left over from Covid, ARPA, etc. that they wanted to distribute. They asked NACo to come up with a formula for Public Lands Counties to receive the funds. Todd worked on it and after his completion, discovered that Alaska, (with the most public land), would receive the largest portion. He personally called the Alaska association of counties, explained what he had come up with, and asked if they would accept less payment so that there was more recipients of the fund. They agreed, then NACo told him that they wanted everyone to receive a portion. Six counties including Daniels received the $100k less the $1,000 who didn’t necessarily normally receive PILT.

Larry Hendrickson, Liberty County and Ag Chairman asked, “What about Daniels?” - knowing we had no Federal Lands. He was informed that we had already received ours. I loudly “ Woohooed.” About three members of the MACo executive committee had promptly asked if Daniels had received their funds. I responded “Yes” and we thank you very, very much. They read a list of those counties who had not paid their 1% back, about twelve. Several wanted me to report, even though Daniels has no Federal lands and normally would not have received anything, it was appreciated that we promptly responded back with our commitment.

All counties in Montana have to be in support for this to move forwar...