Commissioners to Consider Holding Special Election on Countywide Marijuana Tax  

The Missoula County commissioners are seeking public comment as they determine whether to adopt a resolution to hold a special election for voters to consider a 3% local-option tax on marijuana sales.  

The first public hearing on the issue will be at the commissioners’ public meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 1. The meeting will be held in the Sophie Moiese Room of the Missoula County Courthouse, and participants can also join remotely with the following information: 

Microsoft Teams meeting 

Join on your computer or mobile app 

Click here to join the meeting 

Or call in (audio only) 

+1 406-272-4824 

Phone Conference ID: 344 276 93# 

House Bill 701, passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year, allows for the operation of marijuana businesses and taxation of retail sales in Montana counties where a majority of voters approved Initiative 190, which legalized the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use in Montana. In Missoula County, 70% of voters approved I-190 in the 2020 general election.  

HB 701 authorizes counties to adopt a resolution placing a local-option marijuana excise tax of up to 3% on the ballot. If voters approve the ballot measure, the tax would go into effect 90 days later and would apply to all marijuana and marijuana products sold at adult-use dispensaries and medical marijuana dispensaries in the county. As of May 7, there were 48 marijuana dispensaries in Missoula County registered with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.  

Current projections, based on a report issued by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, estimate the tax would generate around $716,100 annually. Missoula County would retain 50% of the revenue, 45% would go to the City of Missoula and the remaining 5% would go to the Montana Department of Revenue to defray costs associated with administering the tax. City of Missoula administration will ask City Council members to adopt a resolution of support for the measure in the coming weeks.  

Revenue from the tax may be used for any activity, undertaking or administrative service that a jurisdiction is authorized by law to perform, including costs that result from imposing the tax or due to administrative burdens imposed as a result of licensing or regulatory requirements. Though City and County officials are still considering what the revenue could go toward, options being explored include using a percentage to offset property taxes, as well as funding community needs like the mobile crisis unit and preventing homelessness.  

Members of the public can submit comment at a public meeting, by emailing bcc@missoulacounty.us or by calling 406-258-4877. If approved, the countywide special election would be held either on Tuesday, Sept. 14, in conjunction with the potential Missoula municipal primary election, or on Tuesday, Nov. 2, in conjunction with the municipal general election.  

Did you receive your property appraisal notice? Here’s what it means and what you can do about it

Did you recently receive this document in the mail?

This is not a tax bill from Missoula County. It’s an appraisal notice issued by the Montana Department of Revenue showing the current assessed value of your property. DOR appraises the value of real property every two years, so the value listed on your form applies to tax years 2021 and 2022. The state DOR, not Missoula County, calculates this value, which is a key factor in determining the property taxes you’ll owe this year. Those property taxes help fund several taxing jurisdictions you live in, including the county.

If you feel the assessed value on your property is inaccurate, you must appeal it by Aug. 9 for the 2021 tax year. Filing an appeal means you are requesting a reappraisal of the property value. Do not wait until you receive your tax bill in October – it will be too late!

You can start this process in one of two ways:

If you miss the Aug. 9 deadline, you can still appeal the assessment until June 1, 2022. But if you wait until then to appeal, any changes to your assessment would only apply to tax year 2022, not the 2021 tax bill you’ll receive this fall.

It’s also important to note that the estimated taxes listed on the notice are based on 2020 tax rates and do not include special assessments. Special assessments are determined by the location of your property, i.e., if you live in a certain school, fire, water quality or other special district. You can view the special assessments that will be levied on your property by downloading your current tax bill on the Missoula County iTax website.

To learn about Montana tax relief programs, visit https://mtrevenue.gov/taxes/tax-relief-programs.

Still have questions about your appraisal notice? Contact a DOR property assessment field office to talk to an appraiser.

Missoula County Offices Reopened to Public June 1 with Guidelines in Place

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All Missoula County offices reopened to the public on Tuesday, June 1, with the following guidelines in place:  

  • Masks are no longer required of employees, public or clients within county buildings. It is strongly recommended for individuals who have not had the opportunity to or cannot be vaccinated continue wearing masks in public buildings, and the county will continue to have signage encouraging the wearing of masks inside all county facilities. 
  • No individual inquiries as to vaccination status are permitted. Please note that some departments may continue requiring masks in certain areas, such as the detention facility or in clinical settings within the health department and Partnership Health Center. 
  • Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who knows they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is asked not to enter county buildingsPeople experiencing symptoms can call 406-258-INFO (4636) or their primary care provider to be screened for possible COVID-19 testing. 
  • To minimize foot traffic in county buildings, visitors are asked to limit bringing family and friends with them, unless they are needed for the intent of the visit. Social distancing will be practiced in county buildings, staff and visitors must be cautious of their surroundings and make every effort to remain at least 6 feet apart. Hand sanitizer will be provided at building entrances and visitors will be encouraged to use it.
  • Virtual services may still be offered in certain departments. It is recommended for visitors to contact the department for operation details. A county directory is available online at www.missoulacounty.us/directory or by calling 406-721-5700.

Reopening information for public-facing Missoula County departments is listed below.

Clerk and Treasurer’s Office, Missoula County Courthouse First Floor, 200 W. Broadway

  • Open, in-person, to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 
  • Capacity: 10 people in the lobby, five at the windows in Treasurer’s Office 
  • Appointments are still not allowed, and people are still encouraged to go online to the Clerk and Treasurer’s site for services like motor vehicle registration, renewals and transfers, property tax payments or changes and requests for birth certificates and other records. If you show up in person, you will still get an email or text when they are about 15 minutes away from serving you.  

Clerk of Court’s Office, Courthouse Second Floor

  • Open, in-person, to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Capacity
    • Customer Service Area: three
    • Public Search Area: one
  • Appointments are preferred, but walkups are accepted. Appointments are required for marriage licenses (use the online marriage application here). The wait time for visitors without an appointment may be longer based upon recommended occupancy levels and as they serve visitors with an appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 406-258-4780 or email clerkofcourt@missoulacounty.us. The office recommends no more than one person to attend an appointment but will make accommodations as needed. Visitors with an appointment should enter the line on the right outside the office, while those without an appointment should enter the line on the left.  
  • Self-representing litigants (those without an attorney to represent them) are encouraged to submit paperwork by email (clerkofcourt@missoulacounty.us), fax (406-258-4899), mail (Clerk of Court, 200 W. Broadway, Missoula, MT 59802) or drop box (black drop box is located outside the Clerk of Court office door. Blue drop box is located next to the sidewalk on the west side of the courthouse off Woody). The regular fee for email/fax filings will be waived. You can also schedule an appointment. 

Commissioners’ Office, 199 W. Pine St.

  • Open, in-person, to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 
  • Capacity 
    • Commissioners’ lobby: three 
    • Sophie Moiese Room: 30 in audience, five up front 
    • Admin 206 Conference Room: four 
    • Admin B14 Conference Room: 10 
  • New doors have been installed on the first floor of the administration building that require keycard entry for security purposes. These will be locked unless the receptionist buzzes you in. 
  • Most commissioner meetings starting mid-June will be hybrid (both on Microsoft Teams and in person) and will take place in the Sophie Moiese room of the courthouse, as opposed to the Admin 206 conference room. 

Community and Planning Services, 127 E. Main St.

  • Open, in-person, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 
    • Land use information desk anticipated to open the week of June 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Construction will be taking place for the next four to six weeks, so many staff will continue to work remotely.  

County Attorney’s Office, Courthouse Fourth Floor

  • Open, in-person, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 

Crime Victim Advocate Program, 317 Woody St.

  • Open, in-person, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday 
  • Appointments are preferred, but not required 
  • Services are still offered remotely as well as in-person. Advocates are able to meet with clients and provide accompaniment to court; however, they are also able to provide many services over the phone. 
  • Paperwork for people to file an Order of Protection is available for self-serve on the Crime Victim Advocate front porch at 317 Woody St.  
  • For general information, visit www.missoulacounty/cva

District Court, Courthouse Second and Third Floors

  • District Court, which is a function of the state, will begin conducting in-person hearings throughout June. Those with questions should contact their attorney or the courts for additional information.

Elections Center, 140 N. Russell St.

  • Open, in-person, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 
  • Construction is taking place in the parking lot for the next little while. To allow for safe access, staff will provide all voter and candidate services in the Election Center warehouse on the east side of the complex, which will be open to pedestrian access only. Street parking will be available, as will a handful of spots in the adjacent Western Montana Mental Health Center parking lot. 

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, 3400 Captain Rawn Way

  • Open, in-person, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday 
  • Capacity: 10 visitors in the main museum building 
  • Respectfully ask that people follow the arrows through the galleries. 

Justice Court, Courthouse, First Floor

  • Open, in-person, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Courtroom requires masks for all who have not been fully vaccinated by order of the Judges.
  • Still operating by Zoom hearings for initial appearances and law and motion, but people can be in person if they wish.
  • Bench trials for civil and criminal and temporary orders of protection (TOPs) are fully in-person.
  • Jury trials will be held if necessary.
  • Weddings can be held in the courtrooms with no capacity limit, but masks are required if needed by order of the Judges. Outdoor weddings are also an option to not have masks.

Missoula County Fairgrounds, 1101 South Ave. W. 

  • Open, in-person, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • Construction is taking place, and bathrooms will not be available for the week of June 1, and walls will be in process of being painted. Starting June 7, construction will settle and services will be more accessible.  

Public Works, 6089 Training Drive

  • Open, in-person, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Training Drive office.
  • Seeley Lake Refuse District Office (located at 1708 Woodworth in Seeley Lake) will open Thursday, July 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for building permits. 
  • Capacity: two customers in the Public Works lobby 
  • Changes to the schedule and restrictions may occur. 
  • Email mcpw@missoulacounty.us or call (406) 258-4753 with any inquiries. 

Sheriff’s Office, Courthouse Second Floor 

  • Open, in-person, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 
  • New concealed carry weapons permit applications and fingerprinting will be offered by appointment from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Appointments can be made by calling (406) 258-4810.
  • For Civil Process, please call (406) 258-4802 

The Detention Facility at 2340 Mullan Rd. is also reopening to the public. 

  • Reception will request that all visitors wear masks while in the facility. 
  • Four inmates will be allowed in each visitation room at one time. 
  • Visitors will be limited to three per inmate. 
  • An inmate’s eligibility for on-site visiting is dependent on their current housing assignment.  
  • It is the inmate’s responsibility to convey their availability to visitors for video visits. Video visitation can be scheduled online at icsolutions.com.   
  • There will be two kiosks available to visitors for on-site video visitation.
  • Visitors may deposit cash or make a debit/credit card deposit on the kiosk in the lobby. If they wish to avoid the fee while depositing cash, or if they have a cashier’s check/money order that they would like to deposit, there are envelopes and a safe next to the kiosk in the lobby that they may utilize. Funds will not be added to the inmate account until the end of the next business day. Visitors may still mail funds directly to the facility or make an electronic deposit with their debit/credit card online by visiting www.jailfunds.comMoney orders and cashier’s checks have a limit of $200.00. The inmate’s name, sender’s name and address as well as all appropriate fields must be completed. If all relevant information is not included, the money order or cashier’s check will be returned to sender. Funds can be mailed with the inmate’s name to 2340 Mullan Road – Missoula, MT  59808. Please address the envelope with sender’s return name and address. 
  • Inmates will receive mail Monday through Friday. Mail that is delivered on Saturday will be received on Monday evening. 

 Superintendent of Schools, 438 W. Spruce St. 

  • Open, in-person, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, often closed for lunch if both staff are offsite.  

Weed District and Extension Office, 2825 Santa Fe Court 

  • Open, in-person, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday 
  • Capacity 
    • Lobby by front desk: two
    • Small meeting room: four
    • Large meeting room: 13 
  • The Plant Clinic, 4-H Youth Development and Family Consumer Sciences are in the office full-time. Field season has started for the Weed District, so staff may not be in the office when you drop by. Make sure to call ahead or schedule an appointment with those at the Weed District office at (406) 258-4200. 

Missoula County Invites Public to Participate in Community Needs Survey, Public Meeting

Missoula County is seeking input to help identify needs and gaps in the community related to public infrastructure and facilities, economic development, housing, human services and COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. 

The Community and Planning Services Grants and Community Programs division conducts an annual community needs assessment to gauge the community’s interests and funding priorities. The needs assessment is the first step in determining how to effectively use potential state and federal funds and to ensure that community development projects reflect community needs. 

The public is invited to fill out a brief and anonymous survey online at missoula.co/cna-survey. The survey will be open Wednesday, May 5, through Wednesday, May 19, and the results will be presented from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, during a virtual Microsoft Teams public meeting. Member of the public and news media can join the meeting using the following information: 

Microsoft Teams meeting 

Join on your computer or mobile app 

Click here to join the meeting 

Or call in (audio only)   

+1 406-272-4824  

Phone Conference ID: 621 101 552#   

Comments may be given orally at the public meeting or in writing by Friday, May 28. Written comments must be submitted to caps@missoulacounty.us

“This year’s assessment will focus on housing priorities to assist in developing an affordable housing strategy for Missoula County,” Grants Administrator Kayla Talbert said. “Public participation and feedback is vital to help staff determine the best use of grant funding.” 

Missoula County may apply for funding from the Montana Community Development Block Grant Program or HOME Investment Partnerships Program (federal funding administered by the Montana Department of Commerce) and other state and federal funding sources to support local housing, public facilities/infrastructure or other community needs. 

Previous funding has supported partial construction costs of the Poverello Center and the new YWCA Family Housing Center – The Meadowlark, wastewater system updates in East Missoula and an updated wastewater system for the resident-owned Buena Vista trailer court near the airport.   

Missoula County Awarded $700,000 Grant to Address Over-Incarceration

The Missoula County Community Justice Department recently received a second two-year $700,000 grant through the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge to support strategies to safely reduce the county detention facility population and address racial and ethnic disparities in Missoula’s justice system.  

The funds will help expand current initiatives launched in 2018, when Missoula County was first awarded a Safety and Justice Challenge grant. It will help the county work toward its goals of reducing rates of defendants failing to appear at required court procedures, minimizing probation and pretrial violations, shortening pretrial length of stay in jail for defendants who have not been convicted of a crime, and evaluating and reducing racial and ethnic disparities within the legal justice system. 

“This grant allows Missoula County the ability to make headway in many areas including criminal justice reform, equity, public safety and the efficient use of public funds,” Commissioner Josh Slotnick said. “Local governments compete for these McArthur Foundation funds, and our staff’s success with the first award laid the groundwork to receive this second round of funding to help continue the good work they’ve implemented.” 

The Community Justice Department determined six grant-funded employees are needed to meet the intended goals of the program. A Safety and Justice Challenge coordinator will lead the program objectives and facilitate an implementation team with community stakeholders and agencies. Two staff members will provide pretrial defendants with support, information, referrals and resources, and a dually licensed social worker will conduct chemical dependency evaluations for probation and parole and help increase access to needed services for those with a substance use disorder.  

The Missoula County Detention Facility also will gain a re-entry coordinator to provide support to individuals leaving the facility for successful, independent re-entry into the community, and the state Office of Public Defender will welcome a Native American peer support specialist to create meaningful connection and support for Indigenous defendants.  

In addition to hiring staff, the county plans to expand on the current jail population dashboard by gathering additional data to help identify and analyze racial and ethnic disparities in the legal justice system from the initial point of contact to adjudication. This dashboard and the current public safety assessment tool will help measure the success of the program and capture justice system inequalities that need to be addressed. 

Stakeholder and community input gathered through surveys, focus groups and meetings will help align the continued funding with community priorities. The grant runs from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023. 

The Safety and Justice Challenge is a national initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. The MacArthur Foundation grant funding for the project brings together many of the nation’s leading criminal justice organizations to provide technical assistance and counsel to participating cities and counties.