How proposed mill levy would impact property owners - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

How proposed mill levy would impact property owners

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Yellowstone County does not have enough prosecutors to get criminals off the streets. Now, in an effort to help make our community safer, the Yellowstone County Commission is considering a mill levy to help add additional positions.

Yellowstone County is booming and with an influx of people, District Attorney Scott Twito tells us his office is busier than ever. While no one likes the idea of paying more taxes, there hasn't been an increase to the Public Safety Mill Levy since the year 2000.

The proposed levy increase would add 8 mills to all properties in Yellowstone County. That would equate to an additional 2.75 million dollars for the county prosecutors office per year. The 8 mill increase would mean that someone in a $200,000 home would see their property taxes increase by $21.60 per year. Twito said jail expansion is needed to keep up with the population growth for the largest city in Montana. He explained Yellowstone County was given the approval of hiring two new judges and so they'll have to find local tax payer money to build courtroom for those judges. With all this, he added that his office has to plan ahead.

"I've got to get ready for trial, I've got to get those charging documents done, I've got to get that petition filed, I've got to file more petitions," Twito said. "All of those things are sort of in combination that will require me to ask for additional assistance."

The Yellowstone County Commission will give you an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed mill levy. Their meeting starts at 9:30 A.M on Tuesday.
If the commission moves forward with the proposal you can expect to vote on it this November.

Based on comments you left us on the KULR 8 Facebook page, many people are in opposition of an 8 mill increase on their property taxes. However, Tuesday's public hearing before the Yellowstone County Commission, was anything but passionate.
In fact, other than county attorney Scott Twito, only one person spoke to the issue and that was in support of the ballot initiative.
"We have unanimously approved that," John Ostlund said. "Scott, thank you for bringing that forward and we are certainly going to encourage the voters to look at helping us incredibly in expanding public safety needs."
This November, if passed the levy would add an additional 2.75 million dollars for the county prosecutors office per year. 8 mills would add $21.60 cents to property taxes paid on a $200,000 home.
Scott Twito said he understands to get the levy passed, he will need to work hard to educate voters.

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