by Travis Mateer
The week began and ended with posts about Tax Increment Financing because there is FINALLY action happening at the state level to put handcuffs on the hands using this “tool” like a toddler wielding a butcher knife, which is the imagery I used in my comment to state legislators last Monday after waiting over two hours for the chance to speak.
Back in Missoula, before recording this week’s podcast episode reviewing local headlines, I read about the shocking possibility that those same state legislators considering TIF handcuffs might DELAY Missoula’s Mayoral race this year, pushing the chance for voters to, you know, actually VOTE for their Mayor, until the end of 2024. Are you fucking kidding me? From the link (emphasis mine):
While the filing period for municipal races doesn’t open for several more weeks, six candidates thus far have declared their intention to run for Missoula mayor, and an equal number have an eye on City Council.
But a number of bills before the Legislature could impact this year’s municipal races, including Senate Bill 420, which would move such elections to even-numbered years.
Further down in the article we get a list of those candidates for the first time from a media source that isn’t a wily blogger showing up conventional media with better local information than they could possibly muster.
Former Mayor John Engen won his 2021 reelection bid, granting him a new four-year term. However, he passed away the following year.
Jordan Hess was appointed to fill Engen’s post until the next election, which is 2023. The winner of that election would then finish the last two years of Engen’s term, which expires in 2025.
But if the Legislature moves municipal elections to even-numbered years, everything gets extended, meaning the next mayoral election won’t happen until 2024. It’s unknown if Engen’s term would also be extended to 2026 or shortened to 2024, meaning the winner of that race would be granted a full four-year term.
Hess has announced his candidacy for mayor as has City Council member Mike Nugent and Andrea Davis, the executive director of the nonprofit Homeward.
According to the Montana Secretary of State’s Office, three other candidates have also announced their intention to run including Jacob Elder, Sean McCoy and former Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott.
If the legislature does this to Missoula voters it will mean an entire additional year of transformative development happening in this town with a Mayor literally picked in an alleyway at 2am. If this farce is extended for another year, will there be hell to pay?
I hope the answer to that question is YES if legislators in Helena decide to do what Francis Fidler did, which was to find out by means of fucking around.
If you would like to support my work as an independent journalist, there’s Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) and the donation button at my about page. I’ll be promoting both, along with an upcoming Patreon page, in the weeks and months to come.
So stay tuned, and thank you for listening/reading!