by Travis Mateer
It’s quite convenient that Missoula’s budget season coincides with summertime because summertime is when the LEAST amount of attention is being paid by the public to stuff like bond requests. I wonder if that is by design?
Citing a lack of space and growing participation in both winter sports and agriculture, user groups at the Missoula County Fairgrounds on Tuesday asked the county to consider placing a general obligation bond on the November ballot to fund improvements.
Commissioners will hold a public hearing on July 28 as they consider the request, which doesn’t yet carry a dollar amount.
I wonder if anyone who supports this pays attention to the economy. Or world events. Or local tax sentiment. Because even Gomer can’t resist itemizing the bond madness:
If the county does place a general obligation bond on the ballot, it would be added to several other bonds still in service if voters passed it. Voters in 2014 approved a $42 million bond for Fort Missoula Regional Park and in 2016, more than 57% of voters approved a $30 million library bond.
Other bonds have since followed including a $15 million open space bond and $500,000 stewardship levy passed in 2018 with nearly 60% approval. Voters also approved two bonds for Missoula County Public Schools totaling roughly $158 million. That has since been followed by several voter-approved increases in operating funds.
“I hear a lot about taxes,” said Keene. “People live here and are successful here because of these investments, not in spite of them.”
Who is this Keene guy who “hears a lot about taxes”? In the article he’s simply named as a “supporter” of this bond. That’s classic Gomer. And here’s classic ME doing just a smidgen of research to remind readers of Keene’s connection to the WGM Group before becoming Public Works and Mobility Director. From the second link:
Jeremy Keene has been hired to lead Missoula’s Public works department, applying more than 24 years of experience in urban planning transportation design and project management to the position.
Keene had worked as a principal engineer since 1999 for the Missoula firm WGM Group. He replaces John Wilson, who is retiring Dec. 31. Contingent upon the City Council’s approval, Keene is expected to begin work with the city on Feb. 1.
“I really love this community,” Keene said in a press release. “I feel fortunate to live here and to work on projects that make positive change. Public Works is at the core of that — stuff like clean water and good sanitation — but it also extends to things like safe streets, good transportation and smart land use. These are important issues as we grow and invest in new infrastructure. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
It’s always impressive to see the local version of a revolving door between government work and the private sector. I hope this particular unnecessary bond is shelved, and quick, because I actually DO pay attention to the economy, and oh boy, buckle your seat belts.
And thanks for reading!