The Glacier County Commissioners have hired Chancy Kittson as the County’s Chief Financial Officer. Kittson served as Interim CFO for 90 days and was paid $48 per hour as an independent contractor. Kittson’s new statusis now that of a department head and he will answer to the Glacier County Commissioners.
Kittson’s compensation and other terms of his employment were not available at press time.
Human Resources Director Mike Kittson recommended Chancy Kittson for the job at the Commissioners meeting in Browning on May 14. “We contracted with Chancy as CFO, but that’s expired and we’re in the middle of a critical adjusting period, because of the upcoming audit, so I want to keep him in as a temporary hire, not to exceed one year, to get through this time,” Mike Kittson told the Commissioners.
Mike Kittson earlier confirmed Chancy is his first cousin but also described him as “someone with the experience, knowledge and capabilities to pull us out of this quagmire.”
Commissioner McKay noted the Department of Administration recommended the County fill this position, adding Commissioner John Overcast texted him saying, “I totally support this.” Overcast was out-of-town at a doctor’s appointment and was unable to attend the meeting.
“Chancy’s done an outstanding job,” said Treasurer Don Wilson said. “He’s made my job easier. I’m thoroughly impressed. He’s a numbers guy, an accounting person. He’s made extraordinary strides with EMS to make it sustainable while keeping the service.”
Mike Kittson pointed out funding to pay a CFO has been in place for two years, but hasn’t been used. “So it’s there.”
The Commissioners approved the hiring of Kittson pending review by the County Attorney’s Office.
Wilson said he is meeting with County Attorney Terryl Matt to see how much money will be freed up after an earlier Supreme Court ruling on protested taxes. Since only the difference in valuation can be claimed, Wilson said it could mean “big money for the county,” and that as soon as the county attorney tells him how much he can release he will do so.
When contacted to elaborate Wilson’s comments on the possible disbursement of the protested tax fund, Matt emailed the following explanation.
“Mr. Wilson was referring to a Montana Supreme Court decision that reversed a District Court order concerning 2018 taxes: DesRosier v. Montana Ninth Judicial Dist. Court, No. OP 18-0721, 2019 WL 852178 (Mont. Feb. 19, 2019),” wrote Matt in the email.
“In part of the decision, the Supreme Court agreed with the County’s position that the protesting taxpayers were not entitled to protest the entire amount of their tax assessment, which they have been doing for several years . . . After the Supreme Court’s decision, the protesting taxpayers filed a motion to determine the amount of taxes they may protest, arguing that a different amount would result from their grounds of protest. The County opposed this motion,” continued Matt.
“The County’s position is that taxpayers are limited to the difference between the previous year’s assessment and the current year’s assessment.”
Matt continued, “In the event funds are released from the protest fund pursuant to the district court’s decision on the motion and the County’s opposition, the funds will be disbursed as provided by law.”
At last week’s Browning meeting, Wilson also informed Commissioners Michael DesRosier and McKay he’d brought a credit card machine to the Satellite Office and would take one to Cut Bank as well. He said he is training Clerk and Recorder Mandi Kennerly through a webinar, and that having the credit card machines on-site will ease things for customers wanting to use their credit cards.
Wilson also changed the credit card company from Big Sky Commerce to Montana Interactive, saving the county 0.5% in charges.