More Reasons To Vote No On The Crisis Mill Levy

by Travis Mateer

This Thursday, from 3-6pm at Missoula Fire Station #4 at 3011 Latimer St., supporters of the Crisis Mill Levy will be on hand to answer questions in an open house style format. I spoke with one of the people who will be present, but just on background, so I’ll withhold his name.

I wanted to tell this person doing the actual work some of the reasoning I had for going on KGVO a few weeks ago to describe my experience at the Reserve Street camps and how that experience (among others) has formed my opinion that the Crisis Levy should be turned down by the voters.

One of the constant refrains in my direct conversations with people is the problematic leadership at the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and County Attorney’s Office. Though I might support an individual program that I know to be worth supporting and professionally run, like the Mobile Crisis Unit, the lack of specificity with WHERE the $5 million dollars that the levy will generate a big problem.

At the first link there is a long list of things that COULD be funded by this levy. In the following screenshot, notice how the word COULD is used twice:

After two years of the pandemic-related sacrifices EVERYONE has made, it’s offensive that our elected leaders can’t be more specific with how the levy money will be used.

Even worse, programs like Calibrate and “supervision” are intended to keep people out of county detention, where some people clearly need to be.

I also like how the Trinity Navigation Center–which isn’t even open yet and has ALREADY BENEFITED from the land it’s being built on being given to it by the County (by “it” I mean Blue Line Development of course)–is lining up as a potential recipient.

How many subsidies and other tax-generated handouts can one developer get?

For context, let’s go back to the year 2019, when Missoula County gifted this land for Trinity. Pay special attention to the “full” support voiced at the time by our outgoing Sheriff, T.J. McDermott (emphasis mine):

The Missoula County Commissioners officially agreed to donate land next to the jail for an affordable housing project and a 24/7 housing help center.

The project, part of the Trinity Affordable Housing Development, is set to include 130 apartment units, 30 of which will be reserved as supportive housing for the chronically homeless.

The roughly four acres of donated land were bought as part of the voter-approved 1996 jail bond. The land was originally intended for possible expansions of the detention center the bond funded or similar developments, but at a meeting Tuesday with county commissioners, Sheriff T.J. McDermott said he fully supported the donation, which fits squarely with the Jail Diversion Master Plan.

It’s funny to go back and read stuff from three years ago because, man, how things can change. And that’s not good when we’re talking about the leadership needed to instill confidence in a voting public that the money they’re being asked to spend will be responsibly directed to where it can do the most good.

Speaking of doing good, I have a crazy idea for outgoing Sheriff, T.J. McDermott: call off the $4.4 million dollar General Obligation Bond for your pay parity ploy (PPP).

Oh wait, you can’t because you got a law firm and SUED Missoula County for the extra pay.

Until we have responsible leaders capable of managing the double-digit tax increases already demanded to sustain essential services, I say nope to the crisis levy.

If you find this content worth supporting financially, check my about page for ways to support independent journalism in Missoula.

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
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to More Reasons To Vote No On The Crisis Mill Levy

  1. Excellent perspective on the never-ending Orwellian messaging.

Leave a Reply