Krautter Instrumental In Return Of Oil Funds To Montana Cities & Towns

During the Chamber Banquet on Monday, Jan. 16, Sidney Mayor Rick Norby mentioned we need to thank Joel Krautter for helping get oil funds back.

Norby was talking about HB 656. The bill was brought to the Montana House in the 2019 session to counteract the part of HB 228 that was passed in the 2017 session to divert oil and gas revenue from taxes in counties with oil and gas production and use it for sage grouse stewardship. Krautter was the Montana House District 35 Representative at the time and he brought the bill before the legislature. Krautter said, “It wasn’t just me. There were a lot of other people involved. We were working on it way before I brought it before the House.” The Montana Petroleum Association and several senators on both sides of the aisle were in support of HB 656. July 1, 2020, was when HB 656 came into effect but cities and towns did not start to see the funds restored until January 2021. The first payment was two quarters’ worth. Alan Olson, Montana Petroleum Association executive director said, “Last quarter, $300,000 went back to communities in oil-producing counties.” Krautter said, “We were trying to bring this revenue back to all the cities and towns where the impacts of the oil and gas production were felt.” When asked how the residents of Sidney would see these funds Mayor Norby said, “This money right here is more of an essential such as public safety, cushioning areas that we don’t want to raise taxes in. It’s hard to say ‘cause it all comes back to the general fund.”

Norby said, “Everyone was surprised when bill 228 passed back in 2017.” According to him, before HB 228, Sidney was receiving $2.5 million per year at the height of the oil boom. Director Olson, said, “I was a representative years ago. I supported a similar bill back around 2003 or 2005 that brought gas and oil funds to the cities and towns affected by production. HB 228 took that away in 2017.” Krautter said, “We really need to keep an eye on this or we could lose it again.”


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