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Recently our elected city government officials decided to mandate a parks maintenance district. The city residents voted to be governed by a city charter many years ago. The city is funded by a mill levy system, and the charter states any increase in funding over 74 mills has to be approved by the registered voters and property owners who reside within the city.

Our current mayor and council, with the exception of Cimmino, Pitman and McFadden, decided to use state law to undermine the intent of our city charter. They had two options to use. One required a vote to create a PMD; the other was a protest process which did not require a vote by the people of Billings to approve the PMD. Of course they chose door No. 2. Which means holler all you want. They are going to do it anyway.

Our city charter does not conflict with state law, but does add to the rules we are to be governed by, to prevent elected officials from increasing funding without the approval of the residents of Billings, which is exactly what the current elected officials are doing. These elected officials take an oath to follow, and govern our city, through the charter which we all had a say in creating. They rationalize their actions by saying "State law says they can," and that is true; however, they took an oath of office to govern our city by our charter, not by the broad interpretation of state law.

What I'm saying is we, the residents, are quite capable of deciding whether or not we want or need a parks maintenance district. We do not need or want guidance on this issue. Put it to the voters. Good night! This is America, not China or Russia.

Folks, if you agree with what I have to say, give these elected officials a phone call, or email them at council@ci.billings and give them some guidance.

Richard Deines

Billings

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