City council considering 2.69 percent tax increase

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Columbia Falls citizens are looking at a 2.69 percent tax increase in the coming year, according to preliminary budget numbers released at Monday’s city council meeting.

The overall city tax valuation is up 9.5 percent, but the city will receive only $24,000 in new tax funds this year as it continues to address a number of projects, including the funding and staffing of the fire department, identifying and repairing water leaks around the city and the redesigning of the city’s website, among others.

With the state’s new tax valuation numbers for the city coming in last week. the state found $134,253 in new taxable value, meaning the city will receive an additional $24,000 in tax revenue this year. The $24,000 is far below the increase the city saw last year.

The city proposes to levy 212.845 mills to raise an additional $37,135 this year, but the number of mills levied will actually decrease as the value of each mill has gone up.

With such a small increase in new money to the city budget from taxes this year, City Manager Susan Nicosia stressed that the city would have to continue taxing at the maximum level to maintain the budget.

One item of concern in the new budget was a decrease in funding for the School District Six School Resource Officer from Flathead County. The county indicated that it will only be giving the city $20,000 for the position this year, as opposed to the $25,000 it has given in the past, though the interlocal agreement has not been formally changed.

The council also gave the go-ahead to a number of projects at their regular meeting Monday evening, including one bringing a new coffee stand to town and one for a six-plex apartment building.

Alpine Homes, LLC, was granted a conditional use permit for the construction of six-plex apartment building at 10 Diane Road in Columbia Falls. The lot is the last one at the location that had not received a conditional use permit a there are already at least 19 multi-unit buildings located on Diane Road, all of which are already occupied.

The project proposed six residential units on a 14,400 square foot lot.

Also coming to town soon will be a new drive-up coffee stand in the parking lot of Genesis Kitchen on north Nucleus Ave. Quad Shot, LLC, was granted a conditional use permit. Quad Shot did agree to repave the entrance to the parking lot coming from A Street, as the asphalt in the area was deteriorated.

City Planner Eric Mulcahy said Quad Shot had previously applied for a conditional use permit for the coffee stand in 2013, but never followed through with its plans.

The council also approved a two-lot residential subdivision on Riverwood Drive, land owned by Michael and Maria Tamburelli. Development of the property would be an addition to Riverwood Estates, Drift Water Way and River Terrace Estates.

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