MISSOULA, Mont. - We checked Missoula County's website and found the new owners of the former Smurfit-Stone mill are 2 years behind in their property taxes. Documents stated the community was shorted at least $350,000 because of unpaid taxes.
We checked and found close to 60 percent of those unpaid taxes should have gone to Frenchtown schools.
County Treasurer Vickie Zeier told us, "If I were a taxpayer I'd want to see what departments are really short, because this money hasn't come in and Frenchtown school is one of them."
Zeier added Frenchtown doesn't have a large tax base to pull from, and the former mill site is a big contributing factor.
We checked around and found Frenchtown wasn't the only area that could be suffering from the shortage. We called the county tax office in Illinois where the Green Investment Group owns another former Smurfit-Stone mill. They report the group is behind 3 years in taxes on that property.
Green Investment Group did not return our calls, but we did speak with the superintendent of Frenchtown Schools. He told us they aren't worried yet, but come the end of this fiscal year there could be shortfalls if this tax money doesn't come in.