Feds pay towns in lieu of taxes 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Local governments cannot tax federal land, but the federal government does make annual payments in lieu of taxes. 

This year, the U.S. Department of the Interior will pay six area towns that have Acadia National Park land within their boundaries a total of $128,598 in lieu of taxes. That is $4,711 more than the total payment five years ago, an increase of 3.7 percent.  

Nationwide, inflation has risen 12 percent during that period. 

This year, Bar Harbor, which has 13,055 acres of Acadia National Park land within its boundary, will receive a federal payment of $40,827 in lieu of taxes. That is up from $40,007 in 2016, an increase of $82. 

Mount Desert, with 10,456 acres of Acadia land, will receive $30,929, an increase of $1,693 since 2016. 

Southwest Harbor, with 4,400 acres of Acadia property, will get $13,210, or $30 less than five years ago. 

Tremont has 2,841 acres of Acadia land. It will receive $19,040 in lieu of taxes, an increase of $1,272.  

Only 55 acres of Acadia land are in Trenton, which will receive $158, up from $143 five years ago. 

Cranberry Isles, with 184 acres of Acadia land, will receive $22,741, an increase of $941 since 2016. 

The size of payments is based on the number of acres of federal land within each local jurisdiction and the population of that jurisdiction. But several other factors can cause an adjustment in payments from year to year. 

It is unclear why Bar Harbor, with 40 times the population and 71 times as many acres of Acadia land as the town of Cranberry Isles, is receiving less than twice as much federal funding in lieu of taxes. 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced last week that more than 1,900 local governments across the country will receive a total of $529.3 million in payments in lieu of taxes. 

Our mission relies on partnerships with U.S. states and territories,” Haaland said. “These disbursements are a great example of our commitment to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve.” 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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