Lake County Commissioners say they’re left finding a way to fill a deficit because tax revenue dollars have dried up at the former Kerr Dam.
The sale of what's now known as the Salish Kootenai Dam in Polson will lead to a revenue loss of about $1 million for the Polson School District as well as Lake County.
"When PPL had it, Northwestern, they paid property tax and that won't happen with the tribe. They don't have to pay property taxes,” said Lake County Commissioner Bill Barron.
Because the tribe is not required to pay property taxes on the dam, the total lost revenue comes out to about $300,000 for the county and nearly $700,000 in lost revenue for the school district.
Barron says the loss could force the county to issue layoffs.
"You might look at something like every office, every department has to lay a person off. It will probably have to be a manpower because budgets are so tight,” he said.
The county could also choose to raise taxes to make up the difference, but Barron says at this point nothing is set in stone.
"With new businesses and stuff that are being built in the county we might have some new revenue from that that might offset what we're losing,” he said.
Still, in spite of the loss, he says he understands the position the tribe is in.
"Anything they did want to contribute would be voluntary. They don't have to do it and it would be done in a way where it wouldn't really benefit the taxpayers on their tax bill because it's nothing that could be figured into the value of a mil,” Barron said.