BILLINGS, Mont. — Montana will close more than 20 local property assessment offices in the coming months, particularly in rural communities.

The Montana Department of Revenue says the closures are necessary because of budget cuts to the division that oversees property assessment. The Billings Gazette reports that offices in six counties already have closed and 22 more counties’ offices will close in the next 18 months.

Revenue Department Director Mike Kadas has told counties that the agency will use regional offices staffed by about 20 traveling appraisers. He also said some counties didn’t need a full-time employee to handle the workload.

Local officials say residents preferred being able to discuss property value with the state employees who made the decision.