Ravalli Co. explores ways to pay developer settlement


Ravalli Co. explores ways to pay developer settlement

HAMILTON, Mont. - Ravalli County is trying to figure out how to pay a $675,000 settlement to a developer's group. If it dips into reserves, it could significantly impact that fund, especially if there's major flooding or fires this year.

The commission signed a settlement agreement with Big Sky Developers Monday. The county not only owes $675,000 to Big Sky Developers, it is also paying off $300,000 to Morado Mountain Estates.

A judge ruled a commission decision in 2008, denying both developers groups a variance on road repairs, was arbitrary and capricious.

Commission Chair Greg Chilcott said if the county needed to, it could operate for 59 days on its current reserves.

"However," said Chilcott, "if we pay this $675,000 out of our reserves, that drops to 11 days."

As an alternative, the county is considering instituting a judgment levy over the next three years. Government has the authority to institute such a levy on taxpayers without a vote of the people.

"If you had a $200,000 home value it would cost you about $7.25 a year in taxes," said Chilcott.

Cutting services is also an option.

There is still an outstanding bill for a private investigation by an accounting firm into the treasurer's office, after its treasurer was put on paid administrative leave for failing to get checks deposited, or financial reports out on time.

"I think the starting point is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 or up," said the commission chair.

So far, Treasurer's Department costs for appointed Treasurer Valerie Stamey's wages and costs of getting the office back in order are $40,000.

County commissioners will meet to discuss options on ways to fund the Big Sky Developers group on Friday, May 27 at 10:30 a.m.

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