Lewis and Clark County OKs sending out supplemental property tax bills

Lewis and Clark County commissioners begrudgingly approved sending out supplemental property tax bills to collect extra money under an order from the Montana Supreme Court and sparked by a dispute with the state.

And they also approved forgoing collections from some residents for bills under $5, saying it was cheaper and more fiscally responsible for the county in the long run.

Lewis and Clark and 48 other counties are sending the supplemental bill to collect an additional 17.3 mills worth of property taxes that county commissioners sought to keep off their taxpayers’ backs last year amid booming property valuations.

The fight over school equalization mills last year pitted county commissioners against the Department of Revenue and Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration. Often referred to as the 95 mills, they are collected from each county and redistributed by the state in a fashion that levels out funding for school districts in richer and poorer counties.

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Gianforte and school advocates argued floating down 17 of the 95 school equalization mills as counties intended would defund education, while the counties contended that the state Department of Revenue did not have the authority to bank

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