Bitterroot diligent in paying property taxes


HAMILTON, Mont. - Ravalli County taxpayers have been diligent paying their property taxes on time.

Tax bills went out Oct. 22 and were due back Nov. 30.

Ravalli County Treasurer Dan Whitesitt said more than 99 percent of the valley's property owners have paid at least the first half of their tax bill.

Whitesitt said with less than 1 percent of those bills being past due it's good news for county entities.

Taxes are collected on real property like land, houses and other buildings.

The treasurer said revenue collected is about 10 percent more than was collected this time last year.

"We've billed out $45.5 million in property taxes for the year," he said. "Approximately half of that was due the first half, and as of Wednesday we've collected $19.5 million."

Whitesitt said in the next week or two the county will be distributing tax money collected to districts like schools, fire departments, cemeteries, libraries and irrigation districts.

Reports will be sent to those districts as well.

The second half of 2017's tax bills are due May 31.

Also, if motor vehicle tax revenues are an indication, more people in Ravalli County have purchased new cars this past year.

Whitesitt said motor vehicles saw a 60-percent increase in tax revenue collection.

From October 2016 to October 2017 the treasurer's office collected $6.2 million in motor vehicle taxes. That's $440,000 more than it collected the same time last year.

"A lot of new or newer vehicles are being purchased," said Whitesitt. "The ones that are on permanent plates we don't receive any money for anymore. So it's all newer vehicles."

He said it's a trend he has seen the past several years.

The treasurer said from October 2015 to October 2016 the motor vehicles department saw an increase of $141,000 in tax revenue.

Whitesitt said the majority of motor vehicle tax money goes to the state, with the remainder dispersed to local entities.

The Ravalli County Treasurer's Office was remodeled last spring.

Whitesitt said the remodel has made it more efficient for anyone who uses it.

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