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Helena chiefs discuss public safety bonds and levy with voters

COFFEE WITH THE CHIEFS
Posted at 6:07 PM, May 20, 2024

HELENA — The fire and police chiefs are making another attempt to educate the public before the election next month to discuss why they feel it is necessary for a levy and bond to pass to increase staffing and facilities.

"People will say 'Why now?' and all I will say is the need is dire. Why not now? I know we are talking about property tax going up, but this need is dire," said Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins.

The levy would pay for nine new police department positions and 15 firefighters.

The bond would pay for constructing a new fire station on Helena's north side.

If the levies and bond pass property taxes would be raised by $151.13 yearly for a home valued at $300,000.

Collins said, "I hate to see a fire truck running to an event and it's stopped by a train."

FIRE TRUCK.jpg

The police and fire chiefs have been holding "Coffee with the Chiefs" since the beginning of April to have open discussions with the public about the levy and bond.

Sessions will be held the next two Tuesdays from 9 AM to 10:30 AM.

"We would rather you have the information ahead of time to make that decision whether it's yes or no," said Helena Chief of Police Brett Petty.

Some concerns have been raised since voters denied all of Helena Public Schools' requests for levies.

Petty said, "I think just like with the school stuff, they support our public safety personnel, and they support our schools, but in the end, it comes down to, I don't know if I want to pay [the] extra taxes."

POLICE CAR

A public education forum will be held at the Lewis and Clark Library on Thursday at 6 PM to further educate voters on the public safety levy and bond.

The public education forum will include the city commissioners and the city manager, along with the police and fire chiefs.

You can find a complete list of dates and times for the events here.