Howell Munitions and Technology and companies affiliated with it have paid roughly $100,000 in personal property taxes that were owed to Nez Perce County on equipment.

That update came from Nez Perce Treasurer Barbara Fry following a discussion of the issue at a Tuesday meeting of the Nez Perce County Commission.

Nez Perce County officials had been tracking the status of the taxes after Howell and seven affiliated businesses began reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

The county had filed a claim seeking the money in the bankruptcy of the operations that make ammunition, ammunition components and ammunition-manufacturing equipment, said Deputy Nez Perce County Prosecutor Nance Ceccarelli at the meeting.

A number of issues are being sorted through in the case and county officials support Howell continuing to operate for a number of reasons, including because it is a significant employer, she said.

“It’s a big, gigantic bankruptcy,” Ceccarelli said. “It moves like a glacier.”

Representatives from Howell didn’t attend the meeting and a message left at the company after the close of its business day Tuesday wasn’t immediately returned.

In other business, the commissioners discussed, but made no decision about, creating a plan that would allow employees to receive merit-based bonuses.

The idea is being considered because a Nez Perce County elected official wanted to reward an employee who had found ways to significantly improve work flow in a department.

It’s possible to set up a legitimate system for one-time spot awards as long as there is a policy approved before they are given that defines consistent criteria, Ceccarelli said.

They could be in a number of forms, such as an extra vacation day or additional, one-time pay that was taxed, but not put into someone’s base pay.

“It’s something we can certainly research,” Ceccarelli said.

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

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