State says Ravalli Co. owes $4.5 million in late property tax revenue


State says Ravalli County owes $4.5 million in late property tax revenue

HAMILTON, Mont. - Less than a week since the treasurer was put on paid administrative leave over unbalanced books and late reports and payments, there's more information.

The Montana State Department of Revenue said Valerie Stamey promised tax reports and checks for October, November and December would be delivered by the end of last week. They still haven't made it to Helena.

The county owes about $4.5 million in late property tax money that's earmarked for the state's general fund and the University system. Ravalli County's finance office said it has no record of checks or reports being sent.

The state is considering whether to impose late penalties that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The state director of tax policy and research, Ed Caplas, said the state has always had a good working relationship with Ravalli County.

Also late are October, November and December reports for several thousand dollars in court fines and forfeitures.

Monday was the second business day since commissioners appointed two county workers to help unravel the financial mess.

Regina Plettenberg is Ravalli County Clerk and Recorder and Elections Supervisor. She now wears a third hat as "point of contact," one of two county workers appointed by commissioners to help take Stamey's workload, and  get the office back on its feet.

"What we're doing is out best to make sure the day to day operations are getting done," said Plettenberg. "We're receiving payments both on the DMV side and the tax side."

Plettenberg said we are working to get the state its money. The top priority, she said, is to get all payments receipted.

She said although DMV payments are always coming in, property tax payments have dwindled significantly, so that is giving clerks more time to catch up. She will deliver a status report to commissioners Tuesday.

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