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Commissioners consider tax break for Libby Sports Center

| December 26, 2006 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Lincoln County commissioners on Wednesday delayed granting a five-year property tax break for Libby Sports Center's new 2,800-square-foot addition.

Assuming the commissioners approve it, owner Ardell Filler will pay no taxes on the addition for 2006. In 2007, Filler will pay 20 percent of the total tax bill for the addition followed by 40 percent in 2008, 60 percent in 2009 and 80 percent in 2010.

Filler, who has owned Libby Sports Center for 35 years, last summer completed the addition at the store at Highways 2 and 37. It was the second time he added to the building since moving the sporting goods business there.

The commissioners hope to meet with Filler on Jan. 3 so they can make a decision on the abatement. He plans to be there.

"The commissioners had some questions and want to talk to Mr. Filler," said commissioner Rita Windom. "It looks to me about $159,000 to $160,000 was spent on the building, but that doesn't mean that's what the Department of Revenue appraised it at."

Without the appraisal, the tax rate cannot be determined, Windom said.

The commissioners also want to know if the addition created any new jobs.

"That would be an influence in our decision," Windom said.

Filler said he created two full-time jobs.

Prior to the addition, the building was appraised at $186,653, said Mike Noser, area manager with the Montana Department of Revenue. The addition increased the building's appraisal to $251,253.

"Our value is based on 2001-2002 material and labor costs," Noser said.

Also, the original building was constructed in 1965. The first addition was put on in 2003 and the second in 2006.

"I can't call the building a 1965 nor can I call it a 2006," Noser said. "When I crunch the numbers, I consider it a 1995."

The property tax bill for Libby Sports Center in 2006 was $2,989. At the current tax rate and assuming commissioners approve the tax break, next year's bill will be $3,094, Noser said.