Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) August brings cool nighttime temperatures, the last of summer's flowers and smoke from the annual fire season. It's also when cities across the state brace for the Montana Department of Revenue's final tax numbers.

With the budget season nearing its end, the City of Missoula expects to receive its final tax numbers on Monday. The figures represent the increase in taxable values across the city and the addition of any new construction.

The results have significant implications for the city and county's new fiscal year budget.

“After we have our tax numbers, the mayor will present his final budget based on the all the resources available that day,” said city CAO Dale Bickell. “Going into City Council deliberations, you'll have exactly where the mayor's budget landed after we have our tax numbers.”

Residents in cities across the state expressed shock this summer when they began to receive the newly assessed value of their property in the mail. In Missoula County, the state's assessment increased the appraised value of homes by an average 40%.

The increase will likely mean that the city and county won't need to levy as many mills to generate the same level of funding it approved in last year's budget. But until the mayor releases his final budget, it's not yet known how much more the city will be seeking.

This year already has seen a number of large budget requests ranging from parks to homelessness. Voters will also consider a request from the Missoula Fire Department for a 40-mill increase to cover the cost of a new station and fire crew.

The state's final tax numbers coming Monday could influence the outcome of the city's budget, and how much more or less local taxpayers will be paying.

“We are scheduled to get those tax numbers next Monday,” said Leigh Griffing, the city's finance director. “We hope to have a presentation and documents updated related to those tax dollars by next Wednesday's Budget and Finance Committee.”

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