Error leaves Lockwood tax bills short

by Evelyn Pyburn-originally published in the Yellowstone County News

LOCKWOOD — If Lockwood taxpayers closely examined their tax bills in November, they would have noticed that one tax was not included.

Because it was new tax district, a snafu in the bookkeeping process resulted in the 10-mill levy for the Lockwood Pedestrian Safety District not being assessed. It simply wasn’t listed in the taxing jurisdictions upon which the Montana Department of Revenue calculated everyone’s tax bill.

The error will be corrected, and taxpayers within the Pedestrian Safety District will receive revised tax bills as soon as the proper paperwork is processed. County Finance Director Kevan Bryan asked County Commissioners to suspend the interest on the loan that they extended to the district so that the district does not suffer any negative impacts from the mistake.

A portion of the district’s tax revenue would have been applied to the loan. The approximate amount the district receives on half the annual property taxes collected in November would have been about $116,000, (including protested taxes which would not be disbursed). Bryan said that there were other expenses that the district would have been paying from the taxes, as well, and he asked that the county cover those costs, too, until the revenues are collected.

County Commissioners said they would have to pass a resolution stating their intentions, but would do so at their meeting next week. Commissioner Jim Reno said that he didn’t want to see any projects delayed because of the mistake.

Upon receiving their corrected tax bills, Lockwood taxpayers can pay the tax, which amounts to about $27 on a $200,000 house, as they choose. Those who have already paid their property taxes may want to immediately pay the district’s tax, or they may choose to include it with the payment of the second half of their tax bill in May.

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