- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico counties will be sharing $38.5 million in payments from the federal government for the non-taxable lands within their borders.

The U.S. Interior Department announced the payments this week. In all, nearly $465 million will be distributed to 1,900 local governments for 2017. The agency says that marks the largest amount allocated in the program’s 40-year history.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall’s office says New Mexico is the third-highest recipient of the payments.

Under the program, rural counties are compensated for hosting federal lands that can’t be developed, such as national parks, forests and some military bases. Counties use the money for social services, schools and roads.

The funding for each county is determined by a formula that considers the number of acres of federal entitlement land within each county and the population.

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