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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

New time set for NIC meeting

Taryn Brodwater Staff writer

Taxpayers wanting to weigh in on North Idaho College’s proposed budget better plan to get to the college’s budget hearing early on Wednesday.

The meeting has been moved up two hours from the time printed on the tax notice sent to 77,000 county property owners May 31. The time was changed to allow college trustees and administrators to attend a fund-raising gala at the new Regal Cinemas Riverstone Wednesday evening.

College spokesman Kent Propst said he told trustees toward the end of last month’s board meeting that Regal Cinemas had just set the date and time for the fund-raiser, which benefits NIC athletics. The 6:30 p.m. time conflicted with Wednesday’s NIC board meeting, so trustees decided to move the meeting from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Propst said he didn’t realize the original meeting time was printed on thousands of property tax notices until he received his own in the mail about three weeks ago. On Monday, the college told local media about the time change, saying they were concerned taxpayers wanting to comment on the budget would show up too late.

Neither the Kootenai County Assessor nor the Clerk’s office was informed of the time change as of Monday afternoon.

Assessor Mike McDowell said he was concerned about the time change and the late notice. He described it as a question of “fair play” and questioned the legality of not publishing the change.

But according to the Idaho Tax Commission and the County Clerk’s office, all that’s required is that NIC notify taxpayers of any changes to the meeting’s date or time in advance by publishing that information.

Propst said the college fulfilled that obligation by contacting both local newspapers and KVNI radio on Monday.

Last week, Concerned Businesses of North Idaho released its Taxpayer Report Card, outlining proposed tax increases and urging taxpayers to attend the budget hearings that were advertised on the tax notices.

Kelly Richards, executive director of the nonprofit business group, said the organization heard about the change last week during a meeting with NIC officials.

Richards said she hoped taxpayers weren’t confused by the time change but said the organization wasn’t upset. She described the fund-raiser as a one-time opportunity.

“We’re in favor of that,” Richards said.

The gala at the movie theater begins at 6:30 p.m. Movie tickets are $50 each and include live entertainment, wine and hors d’oeuvres, with all proceeds going to NIC athletics. Riverstone developer John Stone is matching the funds raised.

Propst said Wednesday was the only date the theater had open for the NIC fund-raiser.

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