Schools’ share of money is more than total
of all funds shown on draft cash report
Stating the reports are “public records” and the “public has a right to this information,” Glacier County Commissioner John Overcast provided monthly cash reports showing Glacier County’s financial position.
A freedom of information (FOI) request for those documents was submitted as required by Chief Financial Officer Chancy Kittson. After repeated inquiries into when the delinquent cash reports would be available, a FOI request was sent to all three County Commissioners on Oct. 4. Glacier County Commissioner John Overcast provided copies of the cash reports, which he received earlier from CFO Kittson.
Overcast confirmed Treasurer Don Wilson also provided a draft “cash report” to them after the commissioners adjourned a meeting in September. That draft cash report listed the total of all funds the County was holding, including school districts, City of Cut Bank, Northern Rockies Medical Center, and other taxing agencies in the State and County, as $25,897,465.06.
However, the total funds listed as held by Glacier County for the school districts totaled more than that–$26,053,775.14.
According to the draft report, ending cash balances for the Browning, East Glacier and Mountain View high school and elementary funds at that time were $25,854,498.18. The County also holds the School Districts’ retirement funds of $62,199.37 and county-wide transportation funds of $137,077.59.
On the final two pages of the report, a discrepancy of -$3,552,515.17 is noted. This is the difference between the “estimated total cash held” for the other taxing agencies (schools, City, NRMC, etc.), which was listed at $29,449,980.23 and the cash report’s actual ending cash balance of $25,897,465.05.
Treasurer Don Wilson and CFO Chancy Kittson, along with County Attorney Terryl Matt, were emailed asking for an explanation for the discrepancies. Matt responded, “It is our policy not to respond on pending litigation.”
The Browning, East Glacier Park and Mountain View School Districts retained Debra Silk, an attorney for the Montana School Board Association, after Wilson refused to honor a request to transfer their funds from the County to accounts managed solely by the school districts.
Silk filed an application for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order on Oct. 3 in District Court to prevent the Glacier County Treasurer from “continuing to inappropriately utilize school funding…and specifically from utilizing school district funds to satisfy obligations of Glacier County or to fund County operations.”
According to the draft cash report, which is dated Sept. 12, there are 13 Glacier County Funds with negative “ending cash” balances. The largest of those funds, the Payment in Lieu of Taxes, had a balance of -$4,812,266.60 followed by the General Fund at -$732,197.48 and Public Safety Law Enforcement at $-268,413.34.
The report shows the subtotal of all Glacier County funds at -$4,066.45.40 as of Sept. 11.
The Protested Tax fund, including interest, was listed as approximately $1,042,773.21. The report estimates Glacier County’s share of the Protested Tax Fund, including interest, is $96,190.40.
The following Glacier County funds were listed with negative cash balances as of Sept. 11.
Weed Control -$5,126.70
Cemetery District -$13,499.32
Law Enforcement -$268,413.34
Glacier Park Lights -$449.00
Local Gov’t. Road
Program Fund -$2,086.39
Glacier County Transit -$3,758.66
Accelerated Tax -$591.31
Overcast said the June, “13th month” and July cash reports have not formally been presented to the commissioners in a regularly scheduled meeting.