Missoula Commissioners Talk 2023 Budget and Proposed Resort Tax

Once a month, Missoula County Commissioners gather on KGVO to answer questions from listeners and share important county policy information on a special program called “County Talk.”

Due to their early morning meeting times, we welcome commissioners from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and then replay the program from 8:30-9:30 a.m., the usual time for Talk Back.

On Tuesday, commissioners discussed the recently released 2023 budget. Dave Strohmaier described how a taxpayer can directly see where each of their tax dollars is being spent.

“If you go to the home page of our website, there’s a ‘Popular Searches’ panel in the middle of the screen; go to the property information link and it will take you to a page where you can then select taxes for an individual property,” Strohmaier said. “You can find your property by typing your name, you can type your neighbor’s name, you can view the tax bill of anyone in town, and you can also search using a map .”

Strohmaier has provided more specific information on how to determine where your tax dollars are spent.

“There are a whole series of pie charts you can click on for your individual property,” he said. “This will show you precisely what your taxes look like by taxing jurisdiction. If you just want to look at Missoula County taxes, you can see how much of your tax bill went to pay for fairgrounds or a number of other services people receive in their homes and residences.

Commissioner Josh Slotnick explained how Missoula County’s tax structure has changed over the past 40 years.

“In the 1980s we had a property tax structure, pretty much exactly the same as it does today and it worked pretty well in a place like Missoula because we had four big factories that had a huge footprint,” Slotnick said. “These mills covered about 30% of tax revenue and residential house values ​​were low, right? To add to that, we didn’t really have many tourists. So we had these big industries, basically covering a lot of what it takes to provide services to the citizens of the city and the county.

Now that these major industries are gone, the entire tax burden now falls on residential property owners. Slotnick is offering what he calls an “Individual Property Tax Reduction.”

“We’re going to tax tourists on the things they buy, and then for every dollar we generate from those tourists, we take $1 off property tax,” he said. “We will find a mechanism to protect residents in the short term and here is what we could do. You and I go out to lunch and we pay 3% (tax) on our burgers, but at some point during the year we’re going to get a check for an estimate of how much we would have paid in tax. We are talking about beer, wine, restaurant food, music, tickets, Air B and B, bars or things that only tourists buy.

Clear here to listen to the full County Talk discussion.

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