If there's a topic that really has Missoula homeowners fired up right now it's not the hot weather or the continued inflation.

It's property taxes, and the double-digit percentage jumps with the most recent assessments arriving in the mail.

Now, Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess and other local government leaders are aiming to do their best to answer questions about the level of property taxes during this month's "Wednesdays with the Mayor" program at the Missoula Public Library on Wednesday evening.

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Hess and Missoula County Commissioner Josh Slotnick will be on hand, along with the chief administrative officers for the city and the county, to tackle the tax questions and explain how local government budgets work. The appearance is a follow-up to a similar program last winter. At that point, Hess and Slotnick were calling on the Legislature to make property tax reform a priority, saying the system is "broken" because it's putting too much burden on individual homeowners.

Slotnick and Hess have noted that in the past, much of the tax burden had been carried by large companies like Smurfit Stone and the Bonner Mill, which are no longer in existence.

Under the most recent revaluations issued by the Montana Department of Revenue, some property owners have seen increases as high as 50 to 60 percent. At a recent meeting, state officials admitted that, in some cases, taxes may have been "overestimated."

The "Wednesdays with the Mayor" program will start at 6 pm on the 4th floor of the library, and will also be streamed live on MCAT. Also appearing with Hess and Slotnick will be Missoula State Representatives Mark Thane and Jonathan Karlen.

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