I am chagrined by Monday's City Council discussion involving the Stillwater Building. As a former lender and appraiser of commercial properties, I doubt the value of the Stillwater building to be $11 million. Listening to the arguments for purchasing this building, and the justification for paying $17 million, well over the appraised value, amazes me. COVID money is not free. Wasting money is never a good idea. As I stated in my 12/29/2020 letter, if this property is worth even the $11 million, then allow the market to acquire it and pay property taxes on it. If serving the taxpayers' best interest is the goal, this is what should be done.
I think another public safety levy passage will be difficult in light of wasting a huge amount of money on bricks and mortar. What is contemplated does not make economic sense, and leads me to believe something is going on that is not being shared. We have a good option. Move administrative staff to the under-utilized Park I. Employ the current iconic City Hall as our downtown precinct.
Look ahead. The completion of the Billings beltway will provide tremendous growth impetus. I predict our urban population will go from where it currently is, and quickly double upon completion. Wouldn't it make sense to serve our population with possibly two additional precincts, one West End and one east end, providing increased visibility and access to our police, and improving response times? Please re-visit this issue.