Where do my taxes go?
Less than one-third of your property tax bill comes to the City of Missoula. The exact percentage can vary depending on which school district or other special districts you live in, but for most people, City taxes make up about 29.6 percent of the tax bill. Missoula County receives about 20 percent of the tax bill. Special districts include the Mountain Line Urban Transportation District, the Soil Conservation District, and the Water Quality District and total about 4.4 percent. The rest goes to state and local schools.
Police and Fire services combined receive 48 percent of your City taxes. Public Works, primarily street maintenance, receives 16 percent. Culture and Recreation, which includes Parks and Recreation as well as some programs through Arts Missoula, accounts for 9 percent of the budget. The Mayor's Office, City Council, City Clerk, Information Technology, Human Resources, and the Finance department are combined into the General Government category, which receives 18 percent of tax dollars.
I have heard that Missoula has higher property taxes than other Montana cities. Is this true?
Yes and no. Most major cities in Montana rely on both taxes and assessments for revenue. Taxes are levied as a number of mills multiplied by the property's value. Most of the City's revenue comes from this general tax levy. Other assessments in Missoula are the road and park districts. Other cities in Montana typically use more assessments than Missoula does, and levy fewer mills. Missoula levies the most mills, and this is what people are referring to when they say our taxes are higher than other cities. If we add mills and special assessments together, Missoula is in line with our peer communities. When we compare revenue per capita, Missoula is in the middle when compared to other major Montana cities.