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City of Cut Bank taxpayers received their tax bills earlier this month and according to City Clerk Linda Burley, “The taxes didn’t change that much for Cut Bank residents.”

The City Council approved the FY 2020-21 budget early last September. No members of the public turned out for the FY 2020-21 Final Budget hearing. City officials set the budget based on the value of a citywide mill. Burley said the value of a mill went down slightly, from $2,478 to $2,455. 

According to the city’s tax levy requirement schedule shows the city is using $534,746 in cash reserves to help fund the budget’s non-voted levies for the following:

•General Fund

•Liability Insurance

•Planning Fund

•Health Insurance

•Fire Disability

•Airport Authority

 “I budget for a reserve in the General Fund to cover expenses between July 1 and when we receive our first payment of taxes from Glacier County in December or January,” explained Burley. 

 “The City of Cut Bank did a great job in managing its spending again last year,” said Mayor Dan Raemaeker. “We were fortunate not to have any large unforeseen expenses develop throughout the fiscal year.”

A review of the City’s approved budget shows the City’s General Fund went up $42,000 from last year’s budget to $1,655,645. The General Fund includes the City Attorney, City Court, City Council and Mayor’s budgets, as well as the City’s Financial Services, Facilities, Law Enforcement, Auditing, Elections, Fire, Road and Street Services, Animal Control, Weed Control, Civic Center, Parks and Swimming Pool budgets.

Last year, the Cut Bank City Council approved a Law Enforcement budget of $699,444. This year’s budget increased by just $6,681 to $706,125. Cuts to several line items within the budget allowed the council to approve an additional $56,350 in wages for officers.

“We received a Coronavirus relief grant from the Montana Board of Crime Control for $25,000 with a majority of that going toward overtime wages. With our arrest numbers and call load more than doubling, we are applying for additional funds to cover unforeseen personnel expenses directly related to impacts of the coronavirus response,” explained Chief of Police Mike Schultz. “The increase in wage expenses on our budget reflect the increase costs of manpower that would be mostly covered if we are awarded the full grant amount we are applying for,” he added. 

The Animal Control budget increased by $25,219 due to an “across the board increase in wages, supplies and services,” explained Burley.

The council budgeted $111,375 for the civic center, which is up $7,100 from last year; and $84,972 for the swimming pool, which is about $1,300 more than last year’s budget.

The Council cut the Weed Control budget by nearly $2,000, budgeting $6,361 in FY 2020-21. Last year, however, the City spent only $1,516 of the $8,322 it budgeted for weed control.

City taxpayers are also assessed $51,027, or 20.78 mills for the Park Maintenance District voted levy and $89,063 or 36.28 mills for the city’s Health Insurance permissive levy. 

City taxpayers support the Airport Authority with $5,110 or 2.08 mills. Fire disability of $9,820 or four mills is also funded by city taxpayers. According to Burley, this year’s assessments for the City’s four street maintenance districts remained the same.

“The City of Cut Bank will continue to make every effort to be as financially responsible as it can be while still maintaining the facilities and utilities to a high standard,” concluded Mayor Raemaeker.

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