Letters from Williams County are headed to mailboxes containing an estimate of what each Williams County property taxpayer is likely to owe at the end of the year.

The amounts are estimates at this point, not actually bills, and should not yet be paid. The amounts that will be shown in these estimates could still adjust downward, but, by law, cannot increase at this point.

While these tax estimates come from Williams County, the estimate includes amounts that are levied by other entities, which the county doesn’t actually control, such as public school districts.

The county puts all the taxing entities together on one statement so that residents don't receive tax bills from multiple entities at the end of the year.

Each entity will have its own public hearing, if  levying more than $100,000, before the tax bills are finalized.

It’s important that the public understands this distinction, Williams County Chairman David Montgomery said during a meeting Thursday, Aug. 29, to go over the mill levy values and run through all of the estimates before they are sent out.

Too often, Montgomery said, he has seen taxpayers show up at Williams County’s mill levy hearing to comment on a completely different entity’s tax increase.

“People need to understand that they have an opportunity to share their concerns with all of the taxing entities,” he said. “All of (the ones levying at least $100,000) are having a public hearing.”

The dates and times of all these hearings will be printed on the estimate documents that will be going out in the mail by Aug. 31.

Williams County Commissioner Barry Ramberg said the state is now requiring school districts to reach a 60 mill levy.

“They’re not there yet, but they can only increase 12 percent a year,” he said. “So they’ve been going up the full limit until they get to 60 mills.”

That’s going to result in “humongous” increases for some districts, Montgomery said.

Williams County, meanwhile, has tried to keep its mill levies as low as possible, Montgomery said.

The general fund mill levy will stay at 8.69 — although an increase in taxable valuation means the actual amount raised by that levy will increase, to $3.219 million from $3.10 million.

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