20 Montana counties file to recertify property values after NorthWestern settlement

Missoula Current

Taxing jurisdictions in 20 counties across the state have filed to recertify their property values with the Montana Department of Revenue, including Missoula, Sanders and Ravalli counties, the agency said on Friday.

The request comes two weeks after the DOR completed a settlement with NorthWestern Energy for its property valuation. The move left 41 of the state’s 56 counties in a pinch, including Missoula County, which must trim $389,000 from its budget.

The city of Missoula is also working to cut $140,000 from its budget.

According to DOR, NorthWestern’s 2016 appraised market value was $2.6 billion. In mid-October, however, the agency agreed to a market value settlement of $2.4 billion.

The changed resulted in a $10 million reduction in NorthWestern’s 2016 property tax bill, trimming it from $144 million to $134 million. The DOR said the final figure is roughly $12 million more than the company’s 2015 tax bill of $122 million.

“The department wishes to thank the many local governments and schools, and particularly county commissioners and treasurers, for their attention and quick turnaround in deciding whether to recertify,” DOR director Mike Kadas said in a statement released Friday.

The deadline for taxing jurisdictions to submit requests to the department passed on Oct. 26. DOR said it would finish processing recertification on Friday. That will enable the effected counties to prepare, print, and mail tax bills to property owners.

According to the DOR, the 20 counties that requested recertification include Broadwater, Carbon, Cascade, Chouteau, Deer Lodge, Gallatin, Glacier, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Meagher, Missoula, Park, Ravalli, Sanders, Silver Bow, Sweet Grass, Valley and Yellowstone counties.