Archive for November 18th, 2007

by jhwygirl

….should prove for an interesting few hours and some healthy conversation on, among other things, taxes.

Hillview SID will be before the full council, and you may recall that it didn’t fair so well in its last committee meeting with the SID being recommended for denial by a vote of 7 – 1, with Ward 6’s Ed Childers being the lone dissent.

Instead of working its way through the waiver issues, council caved to threats of lawsuits despite the assurances of both Director of Public Works Steve King and former director and current City Administrator Bruce Bender that the method of assessment has been utilized over and over, and was legally defensible. Keep in mind we’ve had 500+ SID’s before this one.

Don’t forget, either, that Dick Haines seems to believe it is the role of city government to play the role of banker for future developers.

Caving to pressure in Hillview will send a message to the rest of the community that all you have to do is get out there is somewhat nominal numbers, threaten to sue, and then you’ll be able to avoid an SID….

That healthy discussion, therefore, should include a discussion on HOW to provide for the improvements needed on Hillview – how to provide for safety and sidewalks and bikepaths – how to keep cars from landing in people’s yards. Is it taxes? What does that require? How much will it require? Will those that deny the SID vote to raise taxes? Where will the money come from? And how will it be prioritized?

Now that is the question? Does anyone see Haines/Hendrickson/Ballas/Wilkins voting to raise taxes?

Juxtapose that discussion upon the Performing Arts Center request for an 18 month extension on the parking lot at the old Fox Theater site. 18 months. What does 18 months get us? Another request for another extension in 18 months. And almost certainly another extension request after that. It also gets us a request for a $20,000,000 bond.

We just voted down a $10,000,000 school bond.

And if they if they get that $20,000,000 bond, they’ll then be fishing through the community for another $20,000,000 in donations just to get the performing arts center off the ground.

A vote against the performing arts center is not a vote against the arts. It is not a vote against economic development. It is a vote for reasonableness.

We need a new police station – hey – maybe that new police station should go right there at the triangle? – we need infrastructure, roads, street lights, and we need more police personnel, considering how the Griz football team is stretching the force’s time.

The city/county should not abuse or overstretch its ability to bond and the good will of its citizens by asking for $20,000,000 for a performing arts center with so much necessary matters needing attending.

Good luck to all the council people tomorrow night. They’re gonna need it.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Bestselling author and part-time Montanan James Lee Burke has a letter about the proposed Bitterroot Resort in the Missoulian’s Letters to the Editor column today:

Regarding the debate over the development of Lolo Peak, the central issue seems to have been quickly diverted into a discussion of jobs and real estate values, etc. That’s all good and fine. An individual, for the most part, can do whatever he wishes with his private land, and if he creates jobs for other people, even low-paying ones, so much the better. But the group wishing to develop Lolo Peak wants to use public land and in effect to change the character of a mountain that is one of the most beautiful in western Montana. That’s the issue.

That land belongs to all of us. It also belongs to people who have not been born yet. We’re entrusted with its care. We are also entrusted with protecting it. But rather than rely on words in a letter to the editor or reportage on a public meeting, drive just south of Lolo Creek on Highway 93 and look westward at the mountains whose faces have already been scalped with ski runs that are evidently the first stages in the development of a Lolo Peak ski resort. To say they are ugly doesn’t do them justice. They look like enormous lesions. I assume they represent the model for what will be done on Lolo Peak as well.

The fact that a small group of people can even propose commercializing a state and national treasure and then seek to negotiate the issue strikes me as mind-numbing.

James Lee Burke, Lolo

Reading that, I could hear Detective Dave Robicheaux patiently explaining the economics of our area to his wife, Molly.  Then I started wondering…what would Clete Purcel have to say about Tom Maclay’s land grab?

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