GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Neighborhood Council One held a public forum to discuss the upcoming Public Safety Levy. In the library at Meadow Lark Elementary School, citizens gathered with town leaders such as Police Chief Newton, to learn more about the levy.
This levy would be the first major funding increase for the police and fire departments since 1969. Since then, the city has grown from 18 to 26 square miles while the funding remains stagnant. However, the levy would cost over $280 a year for a home with an assessed market value for tax purposes of $200,000 if milled to the maximum. While everyone agrees that public safety is important, many are hesitant to vote for something that would increase their taxes.
There are two connected issues that are being addressed in the election. For the fire department specifically, they do not have enough personnel on duty at one time to address two separate issues.
The Public Safety Levy is also being voted on just a few months after the Great Falls Public Library Mill Levy was passed, and citizens are not eager to volunteer higher taxes for a second time in under six months.
“We’re going to pay,” Susan Wolff, City Commissioner said, “Whether it’s in our tax bill or whether it’s in our increased insurance bills.”
The Public Safety Levy will be on the November 7th election ballot.
Upcoming public forums regarding the levy will take place on September 13 at 5:30 P.M. in the West Elementary School library, and a town hall discussion will occur on Monday, September 18 at 6:00 P.M. in the Mansfield Theater.
For more information, click here.