Because a special Tax Increment Finance district around the airport reached its "sunset" this year, county taxpayers will see a slightly lower tax increase than projected for fiscal year 2019, which ends next June 30.
The original property tax increase would have been 4.88 percent higher than last year, but it will now be 3.81 percent higher.
The Missoula County Commission will hold a special public hearing on Thursday at 2 p.m. in Courthouse Annex Room 151 to discuss a revised budget that takes into account newly taxable property.
The Airport Tax Increment Finance District was created in the 1990s and scheduled to "sunset" this past July 1 — meaning that all property taxes from the district now go to the county's general fund and to local schools.
Before the district was created, the businesses inside it were generating $176,000 every year in property taxes, according to Andrew Czorny, Missoula County's chief financial officer. Before the sunset, any new revenue over the original $176,000 was diverted and used for redevelopment projects inside the district. Today, the district generates $2.2 million yearly in taxes, which will now go to the county and schools.
"That district has been a boon," Czorny said. "It will continue to be a boon for the taxing jurisdictions out there."
The market value of the businesses in the district, which is industrial, amounts to about $100 million, he added.
Earlier this month, the Department of Revenue revised certified taxable value numbers to account for the newly taxable property that the district encompassed. As a result, the value of countywide and county-only mills increased slightly, as did the mill value of the county open space bonds.
“The $183.75 million budget commissioners approved on Aug. 23 will essentially stay the same, (but) the county will just need to levy fewer mills to raise the revenue required to fund it,” Czorny said. “This will result in a slight reduction to the tax increase generated from the original budget.”
The county will levy 1.89 fewer mills than originally planned for all property owners in the county and .3 fewer mills for property owners outside city limits but within the county. The county will also levy .23 fewer open space bond mills than originally planned.
Czorny said 24.7 percent of the tax increase this year will fund increases to the county budget and 75.3 percent will pay for voter-approved bonds issued for the construction of the new Missoula Public Library.
For example, the county's budget will increase taxes on a home valued at $300,000 by $35.03 per year, with $26.37 attributable to the new library and $8.66 for county operations and services.
On a home valued at $150,000, taxes would increase by roughly $17.50 per year.
The new mill value will also affect the number of permissive medical mills levied. The county is authorized by state law to levy taxes to fund contributions to group insurance. Historically, the county has not levied the full amount necessary to cover these costs in its Employee Benefit Plan, according to county communications coordinator Allison Franz. The county is reducing the mills levied in certain funds to increase the permissive medical levy mills for fiscal year 2019.
The amended final budget can be viewed online at hmissoulacounty.us/government/administration/financial-services/budgets.
Comments on the budget can be directed to 406-258-4877 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.