Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Missoula’s three County Commissioners produce a regular online feature called ‘The Agenda’, where they discuss various issues facing the county in the form of a podcast.

KGVO News listened carefully to that conversation, and drew some comments from the podcast that deal specifically with the current property tax situation.

Commissioner Josh Slotnick mused over what it would take for the average county property owner to pay a significantly lower tax bill.

County Commissioners Muse Over High Property Taxes

“The value of their home would have to drop considerably, and the tax rate on their home would have to drop considerably, and the tax rate on other property tax classifications would have to increase and the valuation method on the other property tax classifications would have to more reflect reality,” began Slotnick. “If those things happen and we kept our increase of pie size (county taxes) to 5.4 percent, then somebody would actually enjoy a property tax break.”

Slotnick said the entire state’s property tax situation must be 'blown up' and remade to help local property owners not be literally taxed out of their homes.

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Commissioner Slotnick said the Property Tax System must be 'Blown Up'

“There are two pieces of evidence that I'm leaning into to think this whole thing is broken the whole thing needs to be blown up,” he said. First, the way we've determined how to ask for people to contribute to the services that they receive; in other words, how do people pay for the services they receive? There's the big question.”

Slotnick said because of the current property tax situation, the county is not able to ‘invest in the future’, as former county leaders had done in the past, which means future Missoula County taxpayers will face even more problems.

Commissioner says it's Impossible to Invest in the Future with Current High Taxes

“That is to some degree in part because people who sat at this table years ago invested in the future, and we didn't invest in the future,” he said. “Five, ten or even 20 years from now, people who live here will see that we didn't (invest in the future). Their roads will be crappier and they'll have less in terms of amenities. We did not invest in the future this year, and we didn’t because property taxes are so painful. Many people would say, ‘Man, you guys did the right thing’. I'm bringing this up as evidence for how broken the system is because we should be investing in the future so that people who are here in the next 20 years will enjoy the amenities that we enjoy.”

Click here to listen to the latest Missoula County Commissioners edition of 'The Agenda'.

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