Property taxes may increase for sidewalk improvements


Property taxes may increase for sidewalk improvements

MISSOULA, Mont. - Property taxes may go up in Missoula to pay for sidewalk projects. Right now, landowners adjacent to damage are responsible for paying for them, but a new plan would spread the cost out to all city taxpayers.

The Public Works department is requesting to add an additional $200,000 to its yearly budget for fixing and building sidewalks.

"We have requested that the city council increase the subsidy to $600,000 a year to allow us to do $900,000 to $1 million a year with the sidewalks," said Construction Project Manager at City of Missoula Doug Harby.

The proposal calls for an increase in property taxes to cover the costs.

"If you own a house that is worth $225,000, you're paying about 10 and a half dollars a year. This will increase it to just less than $17 a year," said Harby.

NBC Montana asked residents if a tax increase would affect them.

"I think it would depend on how much more money it was," said one resident, Jess Folmar.

"If it's raising taxes, I'd be fine with it if it's improving the city," said resident Alex Riffey.

"I'm really not for increasing taxes for whatever reasons, you know if it's sidewalks or whatever. It seems like there's already quite a bit of increases," said another resident, Gregg Neibauer.

Harby explains that right now, property owners adjacent to any damaged sidewalks are responsible for paying for them.

"Property owners are liable and responsible for the repairs of the sidewalk," said Harby.

On top of repairing damaged sidewalks, the additional $200,000 a year would also pay to build roughly 150 miles of new sidewalks Harby says Missoula needs. 

"Rather than a few people getting huge bills, a lot of people are getting very, very small," said Harby.

Planners turned the tax increase proposal into the city about two weeks ago.  City council members are still reviewing it.

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