The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Chouteau County Treasurer Toni Echoff; County Extension Office: Tyler Lane and Janell Barber

 

March 4, 2020

Toni Echoff has only been the treasure for one and a half years. The position is elected every four years. Her responsibility "is the collection and distribution center for all taxes in Chouteau County,

including annual re-registration and titling of cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles (boats,

motor homes, snowmobiles, trailers, motorcycles, special mobile equipment, gross vehicle weight

charges)." In other words, "We handle all the county funds and taxes. Anything having to do with taxes."

You will find the directions on the back of your tax statement if you want to protest of your taxable amount. "They have to write a letter telling why they are protesting. They only have three months to protest; after 90 days, if it isn't filed with the district court, the protest is canceled. They don't get very many who protest.

Assessors decide the taxable amount, and the only thing the treasure does is to make a spreadsheet, and the computer tally's the amount. It is done automatically.

A lot of people forget about the second half of the taxes when they are due, and Toni will send out reminders in June. A tax lien doesn't happen till August. There is a low percentage, which is late. Out of 5,500 tax bills, approximately 100-150 are late. People pay their taxes in Chouteau County.

Toni also does the city bills for Big Sandy, Fort Benton, Highwood, and Geraldine.

Tyler Green and Janell Barber serve as Extension

I stopped by the Extension office and had a quick visit with Tyler Green. Both Tyler and Janell contribute weekly to the Mountaineer with timely articles. So, we all know what they do mostly however here is the definition from their website says, "Montana State University Extension improves the lives of Montana citizens by providing unbiased research-based education and information that integrates learning, discovery, and engagement to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals, families, and communities. While Extension at the state and federal levels provide resources and programs support, citizens via county government and citizen advisory groups determine program priorities at the local level. In addition, a strong network of volunteers helps Extension stretch its resources to accommodate more Montanans. The Chouteau County Extension office is funded jointly by Chouteau County, Montana, Montana State University Extension, and the United States Department of Agriculture."

The two agents are both full time. Tyler worked in Toole County before he came to Chouteau County.

The Chouteau County Commissioners are their supervisors; however, they received funding from the MSU Extension, with federal and state monies as well as county funding. They give quarterly reports to the commissioners. Tyler said they would stop by the office occasionally.

The most rewarding part of his job is "being able to help, to play a role, in sustaining agriculture operation for future generations. I value the farm and the ranch and passing it down to the youth, helping the youth, being able to come back and take it over. To make enough money to do that, sustain agriculture in the county where we are one of the top counties in the nation in winter wheat production. It's our lifeblood here. To do that is really good."

"These young people came in with $8.00 wheat, and they were so exciting. Now they have to have other jobs just trying to hang on. If they have a passion for it, they can make it work."

They work with FFA as well, with Ag days on May 6th. He hopes to have ten pieces of farm -equipment.

Tyler Green's real title is MSU Extension Chouteau County Agent and Agriculture and 4-H Extension Agent. Janell Barber actual title is Family Consumer Sciences and 4-H Extension Agent

"4-H has 90 plus members, so our members have increased. We have some really strong members and recruiters. Big Sandy has double their number.

 
 

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