by Evelyn Pyburn
A decision about adopting an “economic development” tool, called the C-Pace program, has been postponed by Yellowstone County Commissioners until their legal advisors can look at what can be changed by law to minimize the cost and work load it would place on the County Treasurer’s department.
The program would allow businesses to borrow money from lenders and make repayment as a part of their property tax bill. The loan would be attached to the property rather than the borrower – something like a lien. The process of collecting on the loan would fall to the county, although they would not be liable for any defaulted loans.
But points out County Treasurer Sherry Long, it does place a substantial burden on the county to maintain records and keep track of the collection process. She suggested that having to do the collection only once a year would reduce that burden, but she is not sure that would be allowable by the law which governs the program. “It is going to be hard to enforce,” she said, “and it needs to be more clear and transparent.”