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City of Cut Bank taxpayers maybe in for a bit of a shock when they see their tax bill later this fall. City officials adopted the FY 2021-22 budget on Tuesday, Sept. 7, noting there will be an increase. But technically, it’s not their fault.

According to City Clerk Linda Burley, when Glacier County prepared the tax bills last year, “The County took the Permissive Health Levy and Park Maintenance mills out of the 211.8 all purpose mills and only ended up levying 159.96 mills. That left us short 45.81 mills.” Burley said the City received permission from State officials to levy the “forgotten” mills on this year’s tax bills.

“This will only affect this year’s tax bills,” assured Burley, “next year we will go back to the normal amount.”

City officials ask taxpayers to remember their tax bills were less than they should have been last year. 

Burley estimates city taxpayers will see the following increase due to the “forgotten mills” error:

•$50,000 property–$30.92

•$100,000 property–$61.84

•$200,000 property–$123.697

No members of the public attended last week’s meeting to comment on the budget, permissive medical levy or the special assessments for streets and lighting districts.

The council approved levying 26.49 mills, or $67,347, to pay for employees’ health benefits.

The Lighting District assessment will remain at .0036 cents per sq. ft., raising $68,795.55.

The city’s four Street Maintenance Districts special assessments also remained the same:

•District 1–.025 per sq. ft., which will raise $300,535.

•District 2–.025 per sq. ft., which will raise $23,081.30.

•District 3–.0275 per sq. ft., which will raise $79,994.14.

•District 4–.00365 per sq. ft., which will raise, $12,337.31.

How much should residents expect to pay in city taxes this year? 

With the special assessments, permissive ley, park levy, funding of the annual city operations and the added “forgotten mills,” Burley estimated a property owner’s city tax bill at:

•$50,000 property–$208.53

•$100,000 property–$417.07

•$200,000 property–$834.14

The City of Cut Bank will receive a total of $390,000 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which must be spent by 2024, said Burley. Currently, those funds are being held and it is anticipated they will be used as needed for upcoming infrastructure projects.

The City Council approved a resolution cancelling the upcoming general election due to a lack of candidates for the open positions on the council and for mayor. 

According to the resolution, the following are elected by acclamation since they are all running unopposed:

•Kim Winchell, Mayor, four year term.

•Tim Curtiss, Alderman, four year term.

•Doug Vermulm, Alder-man, two year term.

•Mike Wineman, Alder-man, two year term

There also remains one vacant seat on the council, which the council will look to fill in the coming months. The position is a four-year term, but the appointee will only serve for two years, until the next general election.

In other news from last week’s meeting, the Council:

•Heard a request from local realtor Julie Troy to consider rezoning some areas of town to allow for mobile and manufactured homes instead of only “stick home” structures. The Council will hold a work session to review and discuss the issue.

•Heard an update on the water line project, which will get underway later this month and will begin at the south end of Central Ave., past the business district. The contractor hopes to complete at least one block of the project before winter sets in. 

•Held a lengthy discussion on the Glacier Motor Inn property and possible options to pursue in the cleanup of the area should the owner, Don Burlingame, abandon the property and leave the area.

City Attorney Robert Smith said the insurance company will pay the approximately $51,000 in tax liens on the property with the remainder of the insurance funds going directly to Burlingame.

The Council will continue the discussion at a future work session.

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