On a recent ‘County Talk Program’ on KGVO, former commissioner and Missoula businessman Larry Anderson asked the commissioners about a discrepancy he found in the Tax Increment Financing near the Missoula International Airport.

Commissioners promised during the broadcast that they would look into the issue, and on Wednesday, Commissioner Josh Slotnick explained what happened.

Apparently In 2005, the TEDD (Targeted Economic Development District) was updated to exclude commercial properties and only include industrial lands inside the district. Unfortunately, an error at the state in 2008 accidentally included these commercial properties back into the airport industrial district. The State of Montana, through the Department of Revenue, determines which properties are inside a district. For many years the state did not notify Missoula County of their error.

Slotnick explained how the error was being addressed.

“In 2017, it appeared to our Chief Financial Officer Andrew Czorny, when he was looking at the financials for the district that 10 commercial properties had inadvertently been included in the tax increment district by the State Department of Revenue,” said Slotnick. “When Andrew discovered this, we reached out to the Department of Revenue and they said yes, they had accidentally done this.”

Slotnick then explained the steps taken to remedy the mistake.

“Andrew figured out the amount of tax money that those 10 commercial properties paid into the district, how much that was and then redirected that back to the taxing jurisdictions,” he said. “Instead of the difference between what you paid last year and this year all going to the general fund and going spread around everywhere, that difference stays in a special pool of money and then that money is available for projects within the district.”

Slotnick said none of the ten businesses paid any extra tax monies to the county, the funds were simply distributed to other accounts.

“The folks who own those properties who paid into the district, they didn't pay any more than they would have ordinarily,” he said. “It really has no effect on the money they pay. The effect is where that money goes. It goes back to the taxing jurisdictions, the county, the school district, fire, district, etc.”

Slotnick said ‘Missoula County is proud of how we have used tax increment districts to spur development in the area around the airport, in Bonner and now at the Wye. When we learned of the State’s mistake, we corrected it.’

The Missoula County Commissioners appear once a month on KGVO for ‘County Talk’.

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