Missoula City Council puts off Public Safety vote


Missoula City Council puts off Public Safety District vote

MISSOULA, Mont. - We're following up tonight, on a new tax proposed for police and fire expenses in Missoula.

In March the Missoula city council passed a resolution to create a public safety and justice tax district. The funds from this district will pay for police and fire improvements and eventually court expenses. In June, enough Missoula residents protested to block the city council from approving the special tax district.

The city council didn't take the public safety district to a vote tonight. They are waiting, but they did take public comment discussing this topic especially since the public brought the process to a halt earlier in June. 

The residents had a 16.31 percent protest opposing the public safety district tax. And from Monday's city council meeting, resident's opinions haven't changed.

"I think it would be fraudulent for the city of Missoula to go forward with a 17.9 million dollar bond," said Kandi Matthew-Jenkins, Missoula Resident.

"I think things have been misappropriated, I think they have not been used right. I think we've wasted a lot of money," said Donna Williams, Missoula Resident.  

So what's the next option?

"In under state law, there's a couple of options. One is to refer the matter to a referendum a vote of the people, the second is to revise the district and try a different project," explained Bickell.

Back in March, the city council agreed to the intent of creating the special public safety and justice tax district. This money will go toward the local police and fire department. Including expansion of the sexual assault program at the police department and new equipment for the firefighters.

This will be the third special district for the city.  It already has one for roads and parks. The city feels this is necessary and now the departments are struggling a little without the money.

"For FY15, the police department budget is going to absorb a lot of those costs, which is a onetime cost related to the department of justice settlement agreement," said Bickell.

The city council members did not set a date for when they will discuss the next option for the public safety district. For now, they are waiting to decide until more council members are there.

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