The newest on Missoula politics

MISSOULA – Martin Kidston of Missoula Current joined us on Monday during Montana This Morning to discuss city and county politics.

The budget process is ongoing with the City of Missoula and Mayor John Engen proposing various investments.

“The executive budget is broken down into a number of categories ranging from educational excellence to housing and wellness,” said Kidston. “In the housing sector, the city is considering a number of investments, including approximately $ 2.4 million in an affordable housing trust fund.”

“It intends to spend about $ 800,000 on regulatory reform, and it can be guessed that it will have the longest impact. It will streamline housing construction across the city, ”Kidston continued.

“On the wellness front, the company plans to spend approximately $ 1.4 million to strengthen its mobile crisis support team. It also intends to spend $ 1.4 million on secure outdoor housing and about $ 800,000 on veterans programs. Many of them are socially motivated, so we’ll see how everything plays out next week when the city comes together to decide on its 2022 budget. “

Mayor Engen recently said it looks like the tax base has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The city also expects around $ 14 million in ARPA funding. So it looks like they have some money to work with.

“The taxable value of real estate across the county has increased by about 15% this year. The county’s new taxable assets have also expanded due to all of the new builds you see, ”Kidston said. “That means that these properties have been included in the tax lists. So that’s good for the county.

“The challenge for the city and district is still the processing process. That drove up property values ​​across the county. I think that will allow them to keep their milling dues there without increasing them. The city is actually trying to cut its mill values, which would mean a very minimal drop in property taxes for the average person, almost insignificant, “Kidston said.

“But at the same time, most people will see property taxes rise due to the rise in property value, even though the city and county hold their mills,” he added.

The city of Missoula recently passed a resolution in support of the JEDI program, which stands for justice, justice, diversity and inclusion.

“It is difficult to understand. It’s basically a principle or philosophy that the city wants to stand on. We believe in that. Almost everyone believes in the principles of justice, justice, diversity and inclusion, ”said Kidston. “That was not the debate, but whether the government really needs a resolution to tax the people in order to achieve justice, justice, diversity and inclusion.”

“The opponents believe that it is a signal call and socialism. Some say it’s necessary because of our history and the direction we’ve come from, ”Kidston continued. “You also say that opponents are against it out of fear. And of course it doesn’t do well to say that people are scared. I think that’s where the controversy lies. “

We are discussing what is happening in Missoula with the current editor of Missoula Martin Kidston Mondays on Montana This Morning. Click here to read more about the Missoula Current.

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