The city of Missoula lies within Missoula County, but through the process of annexation, the county is steadily losing property and the taxes that go with it, to the city.

County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier explained that when property owners in the county hook up to city services such as Missoula Water and public sewer, they are eligible for annexation.

“When folks in the county hook up to city sewer, if I’m not mistaken, they signed a petition for annexation, which is essentially a waiver of protest of annexation,” said Strohmaier. “As a result, the city is exercising its right to annex them. The county does not have any authority or say in the matter, and this parcel is the entirety of the Airport Development Park that will be annexed.”

Strohmaier provided the loss of tax income the county would suffer from the loss of the Airport Development Park to the city.

“I checked with our finance department, and it looks like Missoula County will lose about $180,000 a year in revenue that would otherwise go into our county only fund that includes our road fund, health, animal control and our permissive medical fund,” he said. “That would be a one year amount, so as we go into our budget for the next fiscal year which will kick off in January, this is something we’re going to have to factor in that we’re losing somewhere near $200,000 a year in revenue.
Strohmaier said the problem lies in the fact that county services and needs will remain the same, or even grow as time goes by.

“The case is likely that the need for service will not diminish proportionately to the amount of revenue that’s being lost,” he said.

The inference is that either county taxes would have to increase to cover the loss, or that county residents may suffer a reduction of some services.

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