In a three to two decision, the all-republican county commissionership of Ravalli County has voted to raise taxes. The money will pay off a $675,000 settlement agreement caused by a past subdivision lawsuit. Commissioner Suzy Foss says the levy is a better business decision than digging into the county’s reserves.

"It's so we can keep our doors open in the time where tax dollars are not coming in," said Foss. "We have twice a year when we are literally are running on empty without reserves because we have such a lean budget. If we had depleted those reserves in order to avoid the levy, we would not have any room if anything were to happen and would possibly be in the position of having to borrow money."

Foss fears draining the reserves, especially at a time of year when water is rising and fire season is about to begin.

Commissioners Suzy Foss, J.R. Iman and Greg Chilcott, voted for the levy, while Commissioners Ron Stolz and Jeff Burrows voted against it. Stolz says that only some of the money needs to come from reserves, the rest can be found in budget cuts

"Sure we're going to have to tighten up to make the county a little more efficient by 2.8 percent, but I believe that in the private sector, people are doing that everyday," Stolz said. "I know there are a lot of people I talk to that are on a fixed income, barely getting by: they can't afford anything else. I believe this also sends, not a very good message for folks looking to come to our county for business."

The levy will cost owners of a 200,000 dollar home $7.27 per year over the next three years.

Suzy Foss: