Use Optimism To Define Your Future, Missoula!

by William Skink

Is Missoula teflon? I mean, we’ve had a market crash, a pandemic, and an unprecedented shut-down of economic activity, yet the median price for buying a home remains insanely high, as reported by MTPR:

“We had a peak median sales price, once again, of $315,000 for homes in Missoula. That represented an 8.6 percent median price increase in just one year.”

Through most of this year’s first quarter there were no indications those trends would change anytime soon. Then COVID-19 hit.

“We don’t really know fully how this is going to completely impact the market,” Wahlberg says. “What we are noticing, especially in the month of April, sales volume is going down.”

It is going to be interesting to see how housing in Missoula will be impacted by the economic depression we are entering. One question worth pondering is this: what is the lag time between a collapsing economic system and the ability of the state to assess property value?

Property value in Missoula and across the country has sky-rocketed during the past decade, thanks to Federal Reserve manipulation propping up our ponzi-scheme economy.

It’s important to note the economy was beginning to collapse before this pandemic hit. It’s also important to recall that before the pandemic, businesses were shuttering in Missoula due to the strain of taxes. This will only continue, as evidenced by the closing of the Montana Distillery. Here’s a breakdown of the property value/tax burden:

According to the Montana Department of Revenue, the property located at 629 Woody Street had a market value of $529,800 in 2018. The value increased in 2019 to $752,250 after it was reassessed by the state.

As a result of the new market value, the property’s taxable value increased from $10,013 in 2018 to $14,217 in 2019. The property is listed under Boxer Associates LLC.

Businesses that can’t afford taxes will close, then the city/county/state won’t get a dime. That’s a reality that many small businesses will be facing. If states and municipalities are increasingly starved of tax revenue, where are they going to look for help? Cutting services or raising property taxes? And when people can’t afford increasing taxes amidst an economic depression, what are they going to do? Pop a tent by the river?

Amidst all this economic uncertainty, the politicized reopening of Montana continues, with state emissaries like Lord Checota making the media rounds. Here is some reopening messaging from our Lord, brought to you by Gomer Kidston at the Current:

“Montana is probably the only state in the United States to reach all four of the criteria that Johns Hopkins lays out as a responsible community time to open,” Top Hat owner Nick Checota said. “Given that we meet all those criteria from an institution like Johns Hopkins who is generally viewed as kind of the premier infectious diseases institution, I got comfortable.”

Isn’t it good that our benevolent Lord is once again feeling comfortable to take your money?

If you read the Current, Gomer Kidston has even more good news for you under the headline Missoula’s building, planning industry sees little signs of pause; optimistic about the future. I especially like how he uses the word “slumber” to describe the state shutting down businesses and imposing social distancing requirements:

As Missoula’s economy emerges from a months-long slumber and businesses establish a new normal, city leaders and those in the building industry are using optimism to define the future.

Development Services this week said it has seen little change in the number of building permits being sought for projects across the city. And work at local planning and engineering firms hasn’t slowed, according to industry insiders.

Aside from redevelopment plans at the Riverfront Triangle in downtown Missoula, including a hotel and events center, most projects are advancing as planned, said Brent Campbell, president and CEO of WGM Group.

“The Drift is the only project that is really on hold right now, but everything else is going full steam ahead,” he said. “We moved our company home seamlessly – technology allowed us to do that. Our productivity is up and demand is there.”

Yep, no problems for WGM group. Or the Farran Group. Or Jackson. Or any other private sector developer that feeds on public money. They’re doing just fine. As long as enough of us suckers keep paying our ever-increasing taxes and ever-increasing cost of living, there is no reason to pause the gentrification of Zootown.

Maybe I’m just being a negative Nancy because I’m out of work and wondering what my own economic opportunities are going to be like in a world where 30 million Americans have lost their job.

I know what my problem is. I’m using the discernible patterns of history to anticipate how centralized power structures exploit crises to consolidate more power.

Instead of that depressing approach, maybe I should try doing what our city leaders are doing and USE OPTIMISM TO DEFINE MY FUTURE!

Yeah, that sounds like a lot more fun. All I need is a few million dollars from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and I’ll be using optimism every goddamn day.

Stay tuned for the new and approved optimistic William Skink!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to Use Optimism To Define Your Future, Missoula!

  1. olbossy says:

    “Maybe I’m just being a negative Nancy because I’m out of work and wondering what my own economic opportunities are going to be like in a world where 30 million Americans have lost their job”

    After reading your blog for the last month, you finally offered some real insight.
    You are what you write…negative. Not the best approach during negative times.

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