1. When talking to Ward 2 residents, the most prevalent issue that keeps coming up in conversation is public safety. Folks are worried about the instances of violent crime they see on the news and what their neighbors talk to them about. One of the best ways to help decrease the instances of crime is to ensure our police department is adequately funded, to ensure enough officers on the street, with proper and adequate training to help de-escalate situations which in the past may have led to fatalities. Presently, we are pushing training, updating equipment and future hiring to insure we have an adequate number of officers on the street into the future and if this trend is not reversed in short order there will be dire consequences we will have to atone for.
2. There is no way the city’s budget can continue to be balanced while siphoning from reserve funds. The City Council and city staff need to work closely with, the business community, and state legislators in the next session to find new and creative ways to generate income to adequately fund our public safety and other responsibilities. Possible new sources of income could come from local option funding, and/or selected fees which are imposed during tourist season and then lowered when tourist season ends, similar to the way Rapid City, S.D., generates income during the summer months. Doing this must also be done while maintaining efficient spending of tax dollars. Continuing to increase property taxes is not the way we will solve this problem in the long-run.
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3. I feel these (parks and trails) should be a fairly high priority if we want to make Billings the city which will attract companies and young families to move here. This is one of the facets of a community attractive to companies and the quality employees they are looking to employ. Along with good schools and high paying jobs are what every community wants and will place the city of Billings on the short list of many companies looking to relocate.
4. I believe the city government has to help the business community continue to grow and thrive with efficient use of tax dollars, regulations which help business grow, and a cautious implementation of regulations and the city code which helps to maintain a high quality way of life for everyone.