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Question numbers before voting for public safety mill levy

2014-08-28T00:00:00Z 2014-08-28T09:39:15Z Question numbers before voting for public safety mill levy The Billings Gazette
August 28, 2014 12:00 am

For those who are planning on voting either for or against the upcoming public safety mill levy, think about this. Before you cast your vote, think about what this really is. The administrator says they are transferring 64 percent of the general fund to public safety (2014 combined — $36,261,135).

With the proposed mill increase, after 10 years it would generate $22.8 million, 62 percent of what is currently used. You might want to ask the council if they are going to reduce the amount that is transferred from the general fund or keep the same amount. I tried and have not yet received an answer, which tells me that they are going to reduce the amount transferred.

If the council does reduce the amount, this is no longer a public safety mill levy but a backfill to the general fund that can be used as the council decides (lawsuits). The Council is playing on emotions from recent fires and crimes and calling it a public safety levy. I have a difficult time with them (City Council) saying that there would be a 34 percent reduction if not passed, and would cost $22 million to hire the number of people they want, with no guarantee the funds would be added to the current budget.

With the last levy, there were a number of officers hired, and approximately half of the fire fighters promised for a lot less than $22 million. I have emailed the administration and council, with one reply, the same information that was presented at the first reading of the proposal. Please contact your council member and get the facts before voting.

Bradley Bell

Billings

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