by Travis Mateer
I have a growing inventory of Gomer Kidston “news” articles I’ve been wanting to comment on piling up in my brain, so I’m just going to purge them here, in quick-hit fashion, to get them out of my system.
The first one is a Gomer classic, pumping up Tax Increment Financing and the budget of the MRA while ALSO helping put down a little insurrection against GREAT LEADER. The fun begins with the title: Citing public good, Missoula City Council adopts MRA’s budget. From the link:
The Missoula City Council’s lingering conservative wing and its inaugural member of the Democratic socialists tried but failed Monday night to block the adoption of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget, despite the impacts doing so could have on the city’s general fund heading in 2022.
On an 8-3 vote, the Missoula City Council adopted a resolution regardless amending MRA’s budget, which includes final calculations based upon new taxable values from the state, its impacts on mill levies, anticipated grants and bond proceeds.
I bolded the REGARDLESS because I love how Gomer just slips it in so casually, without the kind of comma one might expect. And we haven’t even gotten to the inaugural socialist’s actual name! A reader of Gomer has to wait until paragraph 4 to learn that piece of info.
The vote is an annual occurrence, though the council’s new socialist member and what remains of its conservative block sided against it. The two political camps have aligned in recent weeks in opposition to a number of measures, but none have met success.
Daniel Carlino, who narrowly won election representing Ward 3 over Dori Gilels – now a member of the Consolidated Planning Board – suggested tax increment was used to build the $25 million AC Hotel in downtown Missoula.
The project brought dozens of new jobs to the city and, like the Mercantile next door, created the opportunity for business expansion and relocation. It was supported by downtown advocates and was envisioned in both the old and most recent Downtown Master Plan, which were supported by the larger public.
Still, while the project occurred years ago, Carlino voiced opposition.
I am VERY encouraged to read (though would like to independently verify) that the two political camps are finding some common ground on the TIF abuses. Gomer is not known for his accuracy, more like loyalty.
Moving on, the next article is one I almost didn’t read, but I’m glad I did, because I found a tidbit about the controversial Maclay Bridge, something I’ve written about extensively, considering it impacts the safety of my family.
Here’s the relevant part from the article titled From Missoula to Salmon Lake, MDT details busy summer:
From repairs to the Beartracks Bridge in downtown Missoula to the reconstruction of narrow highway skirting Salmon Lake, the Montana Department of Transportation has a busy season ahead in the Missoula District.
The work will also include infrastructure changes to a dangerous stretch of Highway 93 south of Lolo, and Missoula County will make a final decision on the future of Maclay Bridge.
“We’ve got to make a decision to continue with the Section 106 process,” county public works director Shane Stack told commissioners on Monday. “We need some form of formal decision to determine if we want to move forward with Section 106.”
My first reaction upon reading this was HUH? Then I got into Gomer’s bullshit framing of this decades-old controversy, and I really got annoyed.
Section 106 requires that a review of a transportation project include consideration of historic preservation and public input.
The bridge spanning the Bitterroot River in the Missoula Valley has been a contentious issue for years, with some wanting the one-lane structure preserved and left in place. Others want a modern bridge that can handle today’s transportation requirements.
The county is expected to make a formal decision later this month, possibly on Feb. 24.
Nothing in how Gomer reports on this hints at what EVERY STUDY is pointing to: a new bridge up stream, at South street. Is that because Commissioner Dave’s pals live up there and are still in denial of that reality?
Moving on, here’s a fun municipal tantrum from Dinosaur, Jim Nugent, and GREAT LEADER himself!
Citing a long list of bills that preempted ordinances adopted by self-governing cities, Missoula City Attorney Jim Nugent last week issued a legal opinion intended to “inform and provide” local elected officials clear insight into what many are now describing as the long arm of the Montana Legislature.
“There currently is a trend evolving pursuant to which state legislatures throughout the United States are more frequently and with more breadth, topic wise, preempting local government authority and power of local governments with respect to local community issues,” Nugent wrote in legal opinion released on Friday.
Nugent’s concerns follow that of Missoula Mayor John Engen, some members of the City Council and all three Missoula County commissioners in voicing frustration with recent legislative activity and its heavy-handed push to curtail rules and regulations adopted at the local level.
Mentioned is the gun control ordinance I have been writing about for years, like this post, titled I Warned Missoula Would Provoke State Legislature Retaliation Five Years Ago And Guess What? I was Right.
Six years ago now and I am STILL RIGHT. And these whiners are still throwing fits because there are bigger fiefdoms with the power GREAT LEADER wants all for himself.
Moving on, and to conclude, we might not be able to give GREAT LEADER the gun ordinance he so desires, but the ever-visionary Donna Gaukler is ready to give him something big and VERY expensive.
The aquatics center opened in 2006 and was funded through a combination of general obligation bonds and tax increment financing. The proposed community center carries an estimated cost of around $44 million, a number Gaukler said included today’s inflationary costs.
“We’re going into this eyes wide open,” Gaukler said. “It does consider the incredible inflation we’ve been through this year. I would hope and expect these numbers would be lower two years from now.”
These people, man. I mean wow. I think I’ve had enough.
Thanks for reading.