Color Them Angry: Property Tax Appraisals Deliver Sticker Shock

“Color Them Angry.” That’s the headline in The Sidney Herald following a public meeting Friday night.  If you’re like the folks in Sidney and Glendive and you got your 2015 Property Tax Reappraisal Notice in the mail, you probably have some questions and concerns as well.

Well- today, we gave you some of the answers about these notices, and the new two-year appraisal system- direct from the Department of Revenue.

Joining us on Wednesday’s Voices of Montana: the Department of Revenue’s Property Assessment administrator, Cynthia Monteau Moore, and Rocky Haralson, the Regional Property Assessment Manager for the Department of Revenue.  Rocky was in Sidney for that public meeting- and told us firsthand what folks had to say.

 Click here to listen to part 1 of the show.  Click here to listen to part 2.

Here’s some related news headlines over the past few days…

Sidney Herald: COLOR THEM ANGRY Residents express frustrations with new property appraisals

Frustration and anger filled the Richland County Extension meeting room Friday night as residents packed in to hear information about recent property appraisal notices received.

“We’re getting taxed out of our places,” one resident noted. “Most of the oil has left anyway.”

One resident said his property has experienced a 402 percent increase for its appraised value. “I can’t believe that,” he said. He added a vacant lot is now 8,000 percent higher. “Come on.”

Miles City Star: Higher appraisals do not cause equal rise in taxes 

Notices of new property appraisals have been sent out to residents across the state and many property owners have been surprised by the increases, particularly in Custer County.  Lee Zuelke of the Custer County Appraiser’s Office said on the first Monday after the appraisals were mailed, “we had about 150 people come in.” 

Values in Custer County went up an average of 45 percent but that does not mean property taxes will rise 45 percent or that someone whose property increased dramatically in value will see an equal increase in their taxes.

Cut Bank Pioneer Press- Rob Cook: Don’t Freak Out

Rep. Rob Cook reminded taxpayers last January during the legislative session when the reappraisal process was being debated, “The only value that the legislature can manipulate is the tax rate. The DOR determines market values and, locally, commissioners and councilmen determine the number of mills to levy. In past sessions, the legislature has adjusted the tax rate to keep the taxable value in each classification constant.”

Now remember, you CAN’T use the same formula because you don’t know what the new millage rate is yet. What you can do is estimate what your tax bill will be based on the fact that city and county governments can’t raise your taxes by more than one-half the rate of inflation.

According to Cook, “If inflation was 4% for the previous taxing cycle then revenues can only increase by 2%. This constraint on local and county taxing jurisdictions was brought to us by I-105.


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