by Travis Mateer
To make sure I’m not at risk of feeling homesick, I tuned in to City Council as a preventative measure and wasn’t disappointed by the observation of a technology delay. It seems there’s almost ALWAYS some glitch that needs to be worked out, which can be a real problem for someone like me relying on technology because in-person attendance has been taken off the table.
Since I’m in Denver overlooking a swimming pool on the 14th floor a hotel that just got done checking out the furry convention that had been going on all weekend (I’m not kidding), physical attendance wouldn’t be a possibility anyway, even IF I was allowed.
The first THREE comments–from David, Bob and Matts–were NOT friendly to Tax Increment Financing. Does that make me smile? Yes, it makes me smile. Bob talking about “sidewalk blight” around his house was especially entertaining.
The image at the top of this post is an example of a local business that got public money to…end blight? No, we are so far away from the original intention of Tax Increment Financing, it’s not even funny. Though I am hearing Matts chuckling a lot as he references shit like the train study that TIF funded.
Here’s a quote from a post I wrote at the time (emphasis mine):
On Thursday, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s board authorized the agency to provide up to $26,300 in Tax Increment Financing to fund a Railroad Quiet Zone Analysis and Traffic Study. The area affected would be generally near the lower Rattlesnake.
Tod Gass, a project manager with the MRA, said Missoula Mayor John Engen, City Council President Bryan von Lossberg and many concerned citizens have brought the issue forward recently.
The fourth comment came from a guy who works at Opportunity Resources and he likes to walk around expressing his love for Jesus. Cool. Then he brought up morality and shamed City Council for their policies.
Oh, did I mention he purposefully lived on the streets in Eugene as a spiritual thing? Cool. Yeah, life is hard out there, so let’s throw more money at shit without acknowledging the true extent of what’s going on out there.
Next up is Clayton, a regular “houseless” person who is upset that he’s wet and had to move his camp again. Is moving people along “sweeps” or are they NOT “sweeps”? That’s one question Clayton brought up.
I’ve talked to Clayton a handful of times, but I think there is a growing sense of empathy fatigue that more and more people in Missoula are experiencing. I know it’s hard for ME to hear from people that we, as a community, aren’t doing enough for them when the cost of living for EVERYONE is skyrocketing.
Clayton was the first person to be called out for going over the time limit. And this is BEFORE the budget conversation.
Getting on to other business, like the consent agenda, I’m glad to hear Council person, Sandra Vasecka, speak to a sort of jurisdictional nether world commonly known as “sidewalks”. Vasecka’s point is that she will NOT be supporting the snow removal program (and some hazardous vegetation thing) because neither homeowner, nor city, technically “owns” the sidewalk, so having a homeowner fined for NOT removing snow of said sidewalk is problematic, according Vasecka.
I agree! And you know how much I love me some sidewalk policy! It’s almost as exciting as bridges and that cold, hard space between buildings.
To lull the audience into a hypnotic trance, Hess first deploys Bickell to monotone-budget-talk, then deploys slides of pie graphs. BRUTAL! I am tempted to return to my binge-watching of Yellowjackets, which will comprise the rest of my evening.
The next slide/graph makes Mayor Hess ANGRY! This graph is how Hess hopes to scapegoat the state for the budget pain everyone is experiencing. Here it is:
I wanted to capture a screenshot of Hess complaining, but all I had on my screen was slide data, so I had to find an image to give readers who didn’t tune in to budget bullshit from a hotel room like I did.
Here is what Hess sounded like to me in the Mile High city:
There were more slides, and more scapegoats, like inflation, but, like I said, Yellowjackets is calling.
Wait! Mayor Hess just said he’s going to defend TIF! With a pie graph!
There were more TIF-defending slides, but Hess just passed the mic back to Bickell, and I’ve had enough Bickell. Back to Lord of the Flies with a high school soccer team! If I miss some exciting public comments about the budget, so be it!
If you appreciate my continued dedication to watching boring Council meetings, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to say thank you, and the donation button at my about page is another. I even have graphs of my own at the about page!
Thanks for reading!