By Martin J. Kidston
The public hearing on the citys 1999-2000 budget went as scheduled Wednesday night, but to the dismay of city officials, the public didnt show up.
Clerk and Treasurer Lowell Swenson said the hearing was a necessary step enroute to setting the citys new spending budget.
With the meeting now out of the way, however, the city must wait until it receives the latest tax valuation from the county before setting the final budget. Until then, officials can only guess at how much the city might lose due to the property tax cuts handed out by the last Legislature.
Normally, we pass our budget the second Monday in August, Swenson said. But because the Legislature passed the tax cuts last session, they have to recalculate the new assessments.
Swenson explained the tax valuation as a document which sets the number of mills the city can generate. The number of mills generated is based on the value of the citys property taxes. Eventually, Swenson said, when the numbers are compiled by the State Department of Revenue, they will give the city an idea of how much it can claim in property taxes.
Its based on the value of property within the city of Havre, Swenson said. The property taxes in which the city can levy are based on the number of mills it can generate out of that taxable valuation.
Because of the Legislatures cut in property taxes, Swenson believes the city will lose revenue under the new assessments. However, he said the state is supposed to reimburse some of the lost revenue, and the city can levy more mills.
Its a formula used to figure the difference between whats reimbursed by the state and whats not, Swenson said. But until we get that tax valuation, we wont know how much our mills will generate.
Last year, Swenson said, the city budget was more than $9.7 million, and one mill generated $9,734.
Once we get the tax valuation, well set the budget according to it, Swenson said, adding that city should receive the tax valuation sometime in September.