County adopts budget

County Commissioners unanimously passed their budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, during a special Sept. 7 meeting.

There was no public comment on the budget during the meeting.

The budget, as proposed, is available here.

This year’s budget includes a 1.6 percent increase in expenditures, according to Budget Officer Mary Embleton, including:

  • $1.8 million for the jail roof replacement
  • $1.5 million to the Montana Department of Corrections for the buyout of their contract for jail space (the county made its payment at the end of August)
  • $810,000 for the potential purchase of the Aging Services building at Benefis Court
  • $648,549 in heavy equipment purchases
  • $739,000 in fleet purchases
  • $258,950 for boiler replacement at the jail
  • $69,000 for a dental office at the jail
  • $50,000 to replace locks in H-pod at the jail
  • $86,309 for night vision equipment for the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office
  • $300,000 for a Black Eagle paving project
  • $938,280 for other equipment and projects across county departments
  • 2 percent salary increase for elected officials and non-union employees

County to increase pay for elected officials, non-union employees, deputies

County commissioners opted to levy the maximum amount, as has been their practice for the last six years.

Because taxable values increased, fewer mills are needed and so the county will mill 175.48 this year.

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Embleton said that results in $5 less per year in county taxes for a residential taxpayer with a $160,000 home.

The inflationary factor went down from last budget year, from 1.05 percent to 0.93 percent for the current fiscal year.

Embleton said that means, if a taxpayer’s home value didn’t change, they’ll pay less in county taxes this year.

But, it was a valuation year from the Montana Department of Revenue and many homeowners saw their taxable values increase this year.

Embleton said commercial and residential growth in the county contributed to the newly taxable values and a steady tax base. She said that taxable values in the county increased 3.5 percent over last year for the countywide levy.

She said there were no significant tax protests so far this year.