Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Missoula County Commissioners held a sparsely attended meeting on Thursday to announce the new rates for the upcoming year for county taxpayers.

KGVO News spoke to Commissioner Josh Slotnick who provided the basic numbers in the county budget, including the proposed increase in property taxes for county taxpayers.

Commissioner says the County Taxes will Rise by About 5.8 Percent This Year

“On the budget, I'm really proud that we've been able to keep our increase in tax revenue to below the rate of inflation,” began Slotnick. “We're coming in at 5.6 percent to 5.8 percent, or somewhere in there, and the annual rate of inflation from where we started to where we are now is six percent, so we came in at under the rate of inflation which I feel really proud of.”

Slotnick roughly described the formula to determine your county tax liability.

“There are some small intricacies in the math but just roughly speaking, you take the assessed value and the tax rate and put them together and that's your potential tax liability,” he said. “The big pieces that fill the rest of that equation out are how many mills, that's how many units of taxation the county actually uses, and our mills, that’s how much tax we can use is kept by the state.”

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Commissioner Responds to Governor's Charge of 'Extravagant Spending'

Slotnick responded to Governor Greg Gianforte’s claim on Thursday’s Talk Back show that city and county taxes are rising due to ‘extravagant spending’.

“When the governor says their (cities and counties) spending is out of control, well, our spending can't be out of control,” he said. “Our taxation is literally capped. We get to tax what we did the year before plus half the rate of inflation, except there are some things that are outside of that mill cap. The two big things that are outside of the mill cap are newly taxable property, so that's property that was just constructed and is now occupied this year, but wasn't last year. The other thing that's outside of the mill cap or is anything voted on, including levies.”

Slotnick told KGVO News that the state of Montana had the opportunity to reduce the impact of the spiraling property reappraisals, but deliberately refused to do so.

Commissioner said the State of Montana Refused to 'Turn Down the Dial on Taxes'

“Last November, the State Department of Revenue reached out to the state legislature as they are supposed to by statute and said, ‘If you state legislators want to keep property taxes flat, you should reduce the tax rate on residential property from 1.35 percent, which is what it is now, to .94 percent, just turn down the dial, and they didn't do it. And they didn't say why they didn't do it. They just didn't do it, and historically, they have. It's totally within their power. They don't have to create a tourist tax or create a new tax structure. They can just turn down the dial on residential property and turn it up in other places.”

Click here to see the entire Missoula County Commissioners’ meeting.

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