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Letter to the editor: Safety levy will boost business

Letter to the editor: Safety levy will boost business

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Our economic recovery from COVID-19 hinges on so many things, including investment in our public safety. So, open your mail ballot and consider voting in favor of the city’s public safety mill levy.

For the last several months a team of business and civic leaders and economic development staff have been meeting weekly to coordinate response and support for the needs of our businesses during the shutdown/reopening scenarios related to COVID-19. We have partnered with local health officials on “Open and Safe” guidelines, communicated with the State Coronavirus Relief Fund team to assure funding for local businesses, created a one-stop website site of resources for businesses, and drafted a recovery plan to guide our work going forward.

As stated by one of our Economic Response and Recovery Team members, “all this effort will be for not, if we do not have a safe community.” Those words ring loud and clear for me. We have regained some of our economic momentum, but our work is nowhere near complete. We have responsibility to continue our work together toward economic recovery and beyond, and we have a responsibility to assure our community’s public safety infrastructure supports this effort both in the near-term and long-term.

The public safety mill levy will allow the cap of the existing 2004 mill levy to adjust, adding about $8.2 million. I know this is just a short-term fix, but we have let this issue compound for more than a decade. With your support, this mill levy will allow us to build and implement a long-term strategy that is essential to remain economically competitive, attract new private investment, create jobs and provide workers and families a safe and healthy community.

Businesses throughout our community are working to survive and rebuild their business. Some days they are hopeful, some days discouraged, but they are not giving up. We owe it to them to provide a safe, healthy place to do business.

Please join me in supporting the public safety mill levy.

Steve Arveschoug

executive director, Big Sky Economic Development

Yellowstone County Economic Response and Recovery Team

Billings

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