Weathersfield Joins Suit Over Army Land

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Weathersfield — Town officials said Weathersfield will join a class-action lawsuit that alleges the federal government failed to make payments between 2015-17 for land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

A federal court has ruled that the government owes money to municipalities across the country as part of a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, program that underpaid local governments for several years. While an agreement has been reached for the total owed for 2015 and 2016, negotiations are ongoing to determine 2017 payments, according to court documents. Officials believe a resolution will be reached soon, however.

Weathersfield Town Manager Ed Morris said on Thursday that there is no taxpayer cost to join the suit. But failing to do so means the town would not be eligible to receive any money, he said.

The federal land in question is located in the Stoughton Pond Recreation area near the North Springfield dam. Weathersfield only receives a few thousand dollars from the federal government each year –— expected to amount to roughly $3,000 in 2018 — but the town decided joined the suit on principle, Morris said.

“We are not doing it because we need the money,” he said. “We want to stand behind the county (in Utah).”

Kane County, Utah, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in June 2017 seeking to recover underpayments through the PILOT program.

A federal claims court ruled in favor of the county in December, saying the federal government is obligated to pay local governments a certain amount based on a formula, even though Congress failed to appropriate sufficient funds from 2015-17.