With Ballots In The Mail, Local Leaders Make Final Plea For Crisis Mill Levy Money In Perpetuity

by Travis Mateer

It’s too bad the weather yesterday wasn’t cold and dismal because cold and dismal will be the future for crisis services in Missoula if voters deny the $5 million dollar mill levy. Or so the story goes.

The promotional event was held at the fire station and featured the new Mayor, two County Commissioners, and some of the people carrying out the programs that this money COULD benefit. The event did NOT have our outgoing Sheriff or lead County Attorney present, something I felt compelled to ask about before the speakers shuffled off inside to administer the pro-levy propaganda directly.

I’m not sure who needed the convincing, since the audience seemed comprised of those paid to be there or just generally supportive. Maybe even THOSE people need some convincing?

To keep any program hostages from straying off the reservation, the Missoulian is helping tie the closure of the Authorized Camping Site to the worry about losing funding if the mill levy doesn’t pass. Not the ACTUAL LOSS of funding, but just the fear of the loss of funding. From the link:

The difficult decision to close the Authorized Camping Site for homeless community members in Missoula illustrates the dire need to pass a crisis services levy in order to build, fund and staff alternative sites, say city and county leaders.

This paragraph doesn’t read quite right. Let’s try it this way:

The difficult decision to close the Authorized Camping Site for homeless community members in Missoula illustrates the dire lack of planning that a crisis services levy won’t fix, but we did it anyway because it will help justify the money we’re asking for.

There, I think that reads better, don’t you?

Further down in the article, the funding mechanism described by the Missoulian fails to properly use the word PERPETUITY. This is an important word to think about because it highlights the fact this money has no sunset clause, or other ways to assess what we’re paying for, so we can’t stop paying for the programs if they’re not working. From the link:

The levy would raise about $5 million per year, and would cost property owners approximately $27 a year per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Yes, for just $27 dollars a year from each property owner, we can do amazing things, things that Mayor Hess described in this totally not confusing speculative quote about the pie-in-the-sky possibilities of making the winter emergency shelter an all year emergency shelter, giving us TWO WHOLE emergency shelters in Missoula (the Poverello Center being the other one):

“If the levy passes, we will have stability and predictability of funding that will allow us to make long-term decisions and do long-term planning,” Hess said. “And I would’t be surprised at all if we could come up with a year-round emergency shelter option that took the place of the Emergency Winter Shelter and also provided a place of respite in the heat and smoke and other times of year and was really a replacement for both of those services.”

After Mayor Hess’ confusing quote, Commissioner Slotnick chimed in with how money will make them more thoughtful and less likely to use duct tape and baling twine:

“We pulled these efforts together with access to time, money and a whole lot of baling twine and duct tape and extra effort on the part of staff,” Slotnick said. “And as for the future of these things, our commitment will not waver but our access to funding and a lot of the future depends, not entirely, but depends on the outcome of this levy, which would allow us to put together more thoughtful, robust efforts designed for the long-term.”

It’s very difficult to hear that more money is needed to be thoughtful when an ENTIRE DECADE has gone by since the initiation of Missoula’s 10 year plan to end homelessness, which launched in 2012. If that sounds like a long time ago, that’s because it was.

I’d like to say this promotional event was the least convincing thing I witnessed on Thursday, but, sadly, a few hours spent in the Mineral County Courthouse listening to the impressive gaslighting from Wally’s World actually takes the cake.

But that is a story for another day.

If you find this content worth supporting financially, you can make a one-time or reoccurring donation at my about page.

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.

4 Responses to With Ballots In The Mail, Local Leaders Make Final Plea For Crisis Mill Levy Money In Perpetuity

  1. Mary Lynn says:

    $27 per 100,000 on a homes’ value. That’s quite a bit for the pockets
    of our greedy government on top of everything else they’re
    asking for. The taxpayers are going to be hemmorghing money.
    This BS has got to get under control.

  2. TC says:

    As Jesse Ramos recently pointed out – no amount of money will ever be enough for the appetites of our current City/County governments. If past is truly prologue then this $5 million/yr levy will soon be determined to be inadequate. The City created a special tax district of both roads and parks about a decade ago. Both were enacted without a cap or a sunset. Both have gone up at least 1500% in the subsequent years – with little tangible improvements. In fact, even with this ever increasing tax, Parks was given an additional levy for maintenance (again with no cap/sunset).
    This levy, while well intentioned, should be voted down with extreme prejudice! The City will follow its set ways and will be raising the tax within a year (and will every year thereafter in perpetuity). They will claim that just a bit more money is needed and then all problems will be “solved”. Yet as we have seen with the “10 year plan to end homelessness” no matter how well intended or how well funded solutions get farther and farther away.
    In terms of addiction treatment I would vote to fund Councilors/City addiction to tax payer money as they are always looking to score that next hit and dont care about the consequences that are left in the wake of their addiction

  3. webdoodle says:

    Thanks for staying on this topic Skink. It is the local civil rights fight we need to ensure we don’t lose. These crisis teams are an affront to our civil rights, starting with the HIPPA illegal maps they created using mental health patient data from Partnership Health Center, St Pats, CMC, and other local medical providers.

    To be specific, these organizations provided maps to local law enforcement that show the home address of anyone who is considered a mentally unstable patient. The patients weren’t notified or asked if they would consent to there medical data being released. The folks that created these maps, will say it doesn’t have enough data to locate a person. That is simply not true. Cross referencing those maps with election data, or property data, or other publicly available data sets would easily reveal the real names of those people.

    Secondly, the Crisis Team is the sole organization who determines if a 911 call involves one of these people, and whether to deploy these teams instead of law enforcement. What independent auditing is in place to ensure a false positive doesn’t occur and a non-mentally unstable person is accidentally ‘gas lighted’ by these folks? Seeing the police go to a neighbors house is bad enough, but sending the crazy people police may endanger a persons social standing in there neighborhood and community.

    Third, what civil rights training do these crisis teams have? Are they even concerned with miranda rights or evidence collection? What about body cams/microphones, etc? What tools do we as a community have to ensure these crisis teams aren’t being abused politically?

    Lastly, we’ve seen how the corporate medical community treats people who disagree with them (COVID), they get socially ostracized and fired from there jobs. We were told by the CDC, Trump, Biden, and others that the ‘vaccine’, would stop transmission. Recently senior Pfizer executive Janine Small testified before the European Union Parliament that they didn’t even test if the ‘vaccine’ stopped transmission, completely dismantling the ‘take the jab to save my grandmother’ social browbeating that the corporate media parroted and social media used to censor anyone who claimed it didn’t. Will crisis teams be used to silence opposition in the same way?

    I think its better if we shelve this levy until we can ensure proper safeguards and audits are part of the package. This goes way beyond training, it goes to accountability, which isn’t even part of this levy.

  4. Eric says:

    I’m not a resident – but I would be suspicious of such a wide-ranging request too.

    You may be the only person in Missoula who truly understands your homeless problem.

    I am in the Quad Cities now, and we have a homeless population too of course. Whenever an encampment appears, it isn’t long before the notices go up to tear it down, and the garbage truck and skid steers show up.

    All that does is move the homeless back into corners, just barely out of sight.

    These cold mornings I drive through some of the ‘Common Parts’ of Davenport and Rock Island, and I see them huddled under overhangs, and in front of Harvest Ministries, and I’m glad it’s not me sleeping on a cold sidewalk at 35 degrees.

    Thanks for the read – Eric

Leave a Reply