House Bill No. 176
Introduced By orr
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act allowing a county, by vote of the electorate, to levy not more than 2 mills for county search and rescue activities; excluding a voted levy for search and rescue units from property tax limits; amending sections 7-32-235 and 15-10-412, MCA; and providing an effective date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 7-32-235, MCA, is amended to read:
"7-32-235. Search and rescue units authorized -- under control of county sheriff -- optional funding. (1) A county may establish or recognize one or more search and rescue units within the county.
(2) Except in time of martial rule as provided in 10-1-106, search and rescue units and their officers are under the operational control and supervision of the county sheriff, or the sheriff's designee, having jurisdiction and whose span of control would be considered within reasonable limits.
(3) A county may, after approval by a majority of the people voting on the question at an election held throughout the
county, levy an annual tax of not more than
1 mill 2 mills on each dollar of taxable value of all taxable property within the
county to support one or more search and rescue units established or recognized under subsection (1). The election must be
held in conjunction with a regular or primary election."
Section 2. Section 15-10-412, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-10-412. Property tax limited to 1986 levels -- clarification -- extension to all property classes. Section 15-10-402 is interpreted and clarified as follows:
(1) The limitation to 1986 levels is extended to apply to all classes of property described in Title 15, chapter 6, part 1.
(2) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied is interpreted to mean that, except as otherwise provided in this section, the actual tax liability for an individual property is capped at the dollar amount due in each taxing unit for the 1986 tax year. In tax years thereafter, the property must be taxed in each taxing unit at the 1986 cap or the product of the taxable value and mills levied, whichever is less for each taxing unit, except in a taxing unit that levied a tax in tax years 1983 through 1985 but did not levy a tax in 1986, in which case the actual tax liability for an individual property is capped at the dollar amount due in that taxing unit for the 1985 tax year.
(3) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied does not prohibit a further increase in the total taxable valuation of a taxing unit as a result of:
(a) annexation of real property and improvements into a taxing unit;
(b) construction, expansion, or remodeling of improvements;
(c) transfer of property into a taxing unit;
(d) subdivision of real property;
(e) reclassification of property;
(f) increases in the amount of production or the value of production for property described in 15-6-131 or 15-6-132;
(g) transfer of property from tax-exempt to taxable status; or
(h) revaluations caused by:
(i) cyclical reappraisal; or
(ii) expansion, addition, replacement, or remodeling of improvements.
(4) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied does not prohibit a further increase in the taxable valuation or in the actual tax liability on individual property in each class as a result of:
(a) a revaluation caused by:
(i) construction, expansion, replacement, or remodeling of improvements that adds value to the property; or
(ii) cyclical reappraisal;
(b) transfer of property into a taxing unit;
(c) reclassification of property;
(d) increases in the amount of production or the value of production for property described in 15-6-131 or 15-6-132;
(e) annexation of the individual property into a new taxing unit; or
(f) conversion of the individual property from tax-exempt to taxable status.
(5) Property in class four is valued according to the procedures used in 1986, including the designation of 1982 as the base year, until the reappraisal cycle beginning January 1, 1986, is completed and new valuations are placed on the tax rolls and a new base year designated, if the property is:
(a) new construction;
(b) expanded, deleted, replaced, or remodeled improvements;
(c) annexed property; or
(d) property converted from tax-exempt to taxable status.
(6) Property described in subsections (5)(a) through (5)(d) that is not class four property is valued according to the procedures used in 1986 but is also subject to the dollar cap in each taxing unit based on 1986 mills levied.
(7) The limitation on the amount of taxes, as clarified in this section, is intended to leave the property appraisal and
valuation methodology of the department of revenue intact. Determinations of county classifications, salaries of local
government officers, and all other matters in which total taxable valuation is an integral component are not affected by
15-10-401 and 15-10-402 except for the use of taxable valuation in fixing tax levies. In fixing tax levies, the taxing units of
local government may anticipate the deficiency in
revenues revenue resulting from the tax limitations in 15-10-401 and
15-10-402, while understanding that regardless of the amount of mills levied, a taxpayer's liability may not exceed the
dollar amount due in each taxing unit for the 1986 tax year unless:
(a) except as provided in subsection (8)(a), the taxing unit's taxable valuation decreases by 5% or more from the 1986 tax year. If a taxing unit's taxable valuation decreases by 5% or more from the 1986 tax year, it may levy additional mills to compensate for the decreased taxable valuation, but the mills levied may not exceed a number calculated to equal the revenue from property taxes for the 1986 tax year in that taxing unit.
(b) a levy authorized under Title 20 raised less revenue in 1986 than was raised in either 1984 or 1985, in which case the taxing unit may, after approval by the voters in the taxing unit, raise each year thereafter an additional number of mills but may not levy more revenue than the 3-year average of revenue raised for that purpose during 1984, 1985, and 1986;
(c) a levy authorized in 50-2-111 that was made in 1986 was for less than the number of mills levied in either 1984 or 1985, in which case the taxing unit may, after approval by the voters in the taxing unit, levy each year thereafter an additional number of mills but may not levy more than the 3-year average number of mills levied for that purpose during 1984, 1985, and 1986.
(8) (a) Except as provided in subsection (8)(b), if a taxing unit has levied additional mills under subsection (7)(a) to compensate for a decrease in taxable valuation, it may continue to levy additional mills to equal the revenue from property taxes for the 1986 tax year when the taxing unit's taxable valuation is greater than 95% but less than 100% of the taxing unit's taxable valuation in tax year 1986.
(b) When the taxable valuation of a taxing unit that levied additional mills under subsection (7)(a) or (8)(a) is equal to or greater than the taxing unit's taxable valuation in tax year 1986, it may not levy additional mills to compensate for a subsequent decrease in taxable valuation unless the conditions of subsection (7)(a) are satisfied.
(9) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied does not apply to the following levy or special assessment categories, whether or not they are based on commitments made before or after approval of 15-10-401 and 15-10-402:
(a) rural improvement districts;
(b) special improvement districts;
(c) levies pledged for the repayment of bonded indebtedness, including tax increment bonds;
(d) city street maintenance districts;
(e) tax increment financing districts;
(f) satisfaction of judgments against a taxing unit;
(g) street lighting assessments;
(h) revolving funds to support any categories specified in this subsection (9);
(i) levies for economic development authorized pursuant to 90-5-112(4);
(j) levies authorized under 7-6-502 for juvenile detention programs;
(k) levies authorized under 76-15-531 and 76-15-532 for conservation district special administrative assessments;
(l) elementary and high school districts;
(m) voted poor fund levies authorized under 53-2-322; and
(n) voted levies for search and rescue units under 7-32-235.
(10) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied does not apply in a taxing unit if the voters in the taxing unit approve an increase in tax liability following a resolution of the governing body of the taxing unit containing:
(a) a finding that there are insufficient funds to adequately operate the taxing unit as a result of 15-10-401 and 15-10-402;
(b) an explanation of the nature of the financial emergency;
(c) an estimate of the amount of funding shortfall expected by the taxing unit;
(d) a statement that applicable fund balances are or by the end of the fiscal year will be depleted;
(e) a finding that there are no alternative sources of revenue;
(f) a summary of the alternatives that the governing body of the taxing unit has considered; and
(g) a statement of the need for the increased revenue and how it will be used.
(11) (a) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied does not apply to levies required to address the funding of relief of suffering of inhabitants caused by famine, conflagration, or other public calamity.
(b) The limitation set forth in this chapter on the amount of taxes levied does not apply to levies to support:
(i) a city-county board of health, as provided in Title 50, chapter 2, if the governing bodies of the taxing units served by the board of health determine, after a public hearing, that public health programs require funds to ensure the public health. A levy for the support of a local board of health may not exceed the 5-mill limit established in 50-2-111.
(ii) county, city, or town ambulance services authorized by a vote of the electorate under 7-34-102(2); and
(iii) a rail authority, as provided in Title 7, chapter 14, part 16, authorized by a board of county commissioners. A levy for the support of a rail authority may not exceed the 6-mill limit established in 7-14-1632.
(12) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied by a taxing jurisdiction subject to a statutory maximum mill levy does not prevent a taxing jurisdiction from increasing its number of mills beyond the statutory maximum mill levy to produce revenue equal to its 1986 revenue.
(13) The limitation on the amount of taxes levied does not apply to a levy increase to repay taxes paid under protest in accordance with 15-1-402.
(14) A taxing jurisdiction that included special improvement district revolving fund levies in the limitation on the amount of taxes levied prior to April 22, 1993, may continue to include the amount of the levies within the dollar amount due in each taxing unit for the 1986 tax year even if the necessity for the revolving fund has diminished and the levy authority has been transferred."
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.