Local Government Money Spending Quick Hits

by Travis Mateer

For today’s post I’m going to highlight three recent stories about government spending. The first one is about a Missoula County MASTER PLAN for trails that will cost taxpayers a little of a hundred grand. The company that was awarded this contract is from Colorado:

More than a year after ending in-person public meetings due to the pandemic, Missoula County on Tuesday resumed a hybrid format, maintaining a virtual session while gathering publicly in the courthouse conference room.

In doing so, commissioners approved a $104,000 contract with Design Workshop, Inc., to draft a county-wide master plan for trails and rural connectivity.

County planner Juniper Davis said the final plan will give the county a long-range guide to build “priority pathways” outside the city limits while also exploring future funding opportunities.

For our second story, the difficulty in finding labor combined with rising costs for materials is now delaying the Mullan area BUILD project:

The ongoing labor shortage and the limited availability of materials have resulted in “significant” cost inflation, local officials said.

The increase in costs exceeded available funding, prompting to the change in schedule. The project was set to begin this year but has been pushed back to next spring.

“We truly made every possible effort to advance this project forward in 2021,” said Missoula County Public Works Director Shane Stack. “Unfortunately, with elements as unpredictable as the pandemic, our funding scenario wasn’t what we thought it would be at this point. We aren’t able to move forward on the original timeline.”

ON Monday, Stack said the project’s partners had amassed around $19.3 million for the project. However, with the project now 100% designed, the costs ring in at around $22.8 million.

And, for our last story, Peter Lambros is a smart business man. After using the threat of blight as a form of extortion, he got government cheese for his mall property, then flipped the mall property, and now he must be smiling big as the entity that bought the property is now filing for bankruptcy:

The corporate owner of Southgate Mall in Missoula filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday, saying the lingering impacts from the pandemic forced its hand.

Washington Prime Group (WPG), which stands as one of the nation’s largest mall owners, said the voluntary move will enable the company to restructure its business model moving forward.

In its announcement, the company said it had secured the necessary financing to continue day-to-day operations to “ensure that all business operations continue” without interruption.

While there is lots of noise in Missoula these days regarding the signaling of virtues and the critical theory of race, the reality at the end of the day is that it’s almost always ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!

Thanks for reading.

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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