Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - According to Missoula County Clerk and Treasurer Tyler Gernant, the average property taxes in Missoula have risen by a little over five percent, so as property tax bills arrive in the mail or online, you’ll know what to expect.

Property Taxes to Rise by about 5 Percent This Year

KGVO News spoke to Gernant on Tuesday and he said the property tax bills will be in the mail by Friday. He explained what property taxes are used for.

“Real property taxes are what fund local governments across the state of Montana,” began Gernant. “So that's what's going to fund your police services, such as your fire, and your local school district is primarily funded by property taxes. Those get billed once a year and paid twice a year. So you're going to get your bill starting next week. Some people will probably start getting them later this week, and that bill is going to have a due date of the first half payment is due for November 30, and the second half will be due on May 31.”

Property Reappraisals resume Next Year

Gernant said there was no reappraisal this year, so actual property values remained the same, even though the amount of taxes rose by about five percent.

“This is an off year so the reappraisal was last year, and then next year will be another reappraisal year, so this year your values stay the same,” he said. “The only thing that changes is how much local governments assess against that value in terms of mill levies. Generally speaking, when I looked at the tax bills, and again, this is just a general look at it, they went up by about 5 percent, so I would say you're probably likely to experience somewhere in the neighborhood of a 5 percent increase in your property taxes.”

Whatever you do, Pay your Property Taxes on Time!

Gernant emphasized the importance of paying your property taxes on time, because it can get very expensive if you don’t.

“If you don't pay your property taxes on time, and even if it's one minute past the due date, you end up paying a 1 percent penalty of the amount that was due in that payment,” he said. That's by statute, and in addition to that, as long as you continue to not pay them, there is 10 percent per year interest applied to that. So it's really important that you pay your taxes on time, not just from a personal standpoint, but that’s also what funds local governments.”

Deliberately not paying your property taxes could eventually cost you your home, but only after a nearly three-year process.

“If you live in the home that you own, it is very, very difficult to lose your house at this point,” he said. “If you don't pay your taxes and you've received all these notices, we have to come knock on your door and make sure that you're aware of the fact that you have unpaid taxes. After three years if you still refuse to pay your taxes at that point, your house then goes up for auction.”

Need Some Help with your Property Taxes?

There are some programs for those on fixed incomes and for veterans that can provide assistance in paying property taxes, and you can click here for details.

Gernant reiterated the point that all city and county services are funded solely by property taxes.

LOOKING BACK: Photos of Missoula and How It's Changed

Check out these photos of how Missoula has changed over the past decade.

Get to Know Missoula A to Z

All about Missoula, Montana.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM