“I don’t know” and “I don’t have a clue.” Those were the responses of Glacier County Treasurer Don Wilson when asked the status of property tax collections by Commissioner John Overcast at the July 20 Commissioner meeting.
“How’s our property taxes coming in? Are we way behind?”
Wilson said they were due on June 30. “It’s a typical year; they continue to trickle in.”
Overcast asked what percentage of tax collections had been received. “75%? 10% in,” asked Overcast.
“Don’t have a clue,” responded Wilson.
“Really?” replied Overcast.
He said there were circumstances that affect that, citing the Blackfeet Tribe as one example.
“Did we get 50% in? 60% in? 5%?,” asked Overcast again.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” replied Wilson again. “There’s a dollar amount, that’s what you need to worry about is the dollar amount.”
When asked the dollar amount Wilson said “roughly about $6 million.” When asked what is normally collected for May and June tax collections, Wilson again responded, “I don’t have a clue.”
Overcast asked, “Don’t you have to report something to the State?”
Wilson responded, “The only thing the State cares about is their cut of the pie…they don’t give a damn about percentages. They don’t give a damn if we’re…”
“Do you care about the percentages? Are you concerned?” asked Overcast.
“When I take a look at general numbers, it’s about general,” replied Wilson.
When asked what was collected in May and June of 2019, Wilson responded, “I don’t have a clue.”
Wilson was appointed interim Treasurer in June 2018. He was elected to the position in November of 2018.
Wilson claimed the “brigade” that paid their taxes under protest last year amounted to $880,000.
That amount could not be verified but one of the audit findings in the FY 2019 audit related to protested taxes. According to the audit, “the cash in the protested tax fund is $419,939 less than the protested taxes receivable and an explanation was not given.”
“I’m not answering questions to you at all,” responded Wilson when asked by the newspaper for an update on the status of the transfer of Browning Schools’ funds. “This is not a public meeting,” responded Wilson.
When pressed, Wilson stated County Attorney Terryl Matt advised Wilson against transferring the funds to the Browning School District.
McKay confirmed Matt had advised “Wilson not to pay any school disbursements” until “journal entries they are still dealing with on both ends” are settled.
“How big a difference is there between our end and their end,” asked Overcast.
“I don’t know what their end is but I do know what our end is,” replied Wilson.
Commissioner John Overcast reminded Wilson of the email received by Browning Schools Superintendent Corrina Guardipee-Hall requesting $3.12 million.
Vice Chairman Tom McKay said the difference is approximately $1.6 million. He reiterated, “The County Attorney did advise Don not to pay that. She knows more about the law than we do so he’s holding up on the payment.”
Commissioner Michael DesRosier was not in attendance.