Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Letters to the editor Sept. 24

| September 24, 2023 12:00 AM

Won’t break laws to be ‘nice’

I would like to respond to the Sept. 20 letter to the editor from Ms. Cheryl Boksenbaum (Treasurer’s Office too busy to help) about the Flathead County Treasurer’s office, specifically me, Adele Krantz.

In response to her comment “we could use more “nice” in the Flathead.” I am a native Montanan. I was born and raised in Montana. I have worked for the citizens of Flathead County since 1991.

Yes, I am an elected official but I have never taken advantage of that title. I work for the people of Flathead County but I will not break the laws to be “nice” in this case.

Ms. Boksenbaum stated in her article that she mistakenly overpaid her tax bill. She had delinquent taxes. In Montana, if you have delinquent taxes, you pay penalty and interest. In Boksenbaum’s case, she went online to pay her 2022 real estate taxes on Nov. 25, 2022, and paid her second installment in error. She realized that she made this error in August 2023. She had to pay $123.76 in penalty and interest.

In response to her comment, the “office was too busy to accommodate overpayment.” I had a conversation with Ms. Boksenbaum in August on the phone, I absolutely did not state that my office was too busy to accommodate an overpayment. I did the research while she was on the phone. She did admit that she paid the wrong installment in November. I told her since she was paying the taxes late there would be penalty and interest charged.

She didn’t agree and was very upset. She told me that her mother always told her “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” She went on to say that I was not a “nice” person. She informed me that she was going to waste a lot of people’s time complaining about my decision.

I have spent 32 years of my life serving the citizens of Flathead County. All my staff members over the years have worked very hard and long hours to help our citizens. I know my office is not perfect. The influx of people has been a challenge. It will never be perfect, but we will strive to give our customers the time they deserve.

My parents always told me – give 125%, be respectful and always thankful, but remember life is always a fight and it isn’t for sissies.

— Adele Krantz, Flathead County Treasurer

Forest’s preferential treatment

A Daily Inter Lake article of Sept. 15, and excellent editorial on Sept. 17, concerned Flathead National Forest’s preferential treatment of for-profit companies while actively excluding and concealing from the public plans concerning the Columbia Mountain tram.

Most Flathead residents are unaware of yet another example of Forest deception: The Highlander hiking and camping event taking place near Lakeside this week.

Highlander is a foreign, for-profit corporation based in Croatia. They started selling tickets months before applying for a Forest Service permit. Soon thereafter they advertised blocks of hotel rooms for participants, and recently employees and material were flown in from Croatia, all before issuance of the permit. Highlander behaved like they had a permit while the Flathead National Forest stonewalled local inquiry, refused to disclose information, and illegally ignored a FOIA request.

The event uses the Foy’s to Blacktail, Lakeside to Blacktail non-motorized trails and the Wild Bill motorized trail. These local user groups learned about the event second-hand and officially oppose it. Over decades, local volunteer non-profits conceived of, designed, and built these trails, and continue to maintain them utilizing grants, local donations, and volunteers.

The Highlander event should take place on private land, just like the successful annual Spartan Race.

Flathead National Forest issued a decision letter last Friday, Sept. 14, stating the event was approved. The event was scheduled to run Sept. 19 and allows Highlander to “set up the weekend prior to the event,” on Saturday Sept. 15, the day after approval. Flathead National Forest did not post a copy of the permit, operating plan or other pertinent documents, announcing only that the event was approved to begin the following day.

The pattern is obvious and insidious: the for-profit company (POWDR at Holland Lake, Pursuit’s Columbia Mountain tram, Highlander) is given preferential treatment while local citizens are intentionally kept in the dark.

— Jim Watson, Kalispell

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