The Lunacy That is John Hendrickson (Live Blogging)

by jhwygirl

Live blogging city council here. Can’t resist, as they just started budge cuts.

Hendrickson just made a motion – to place a hiring freeze on all vacancies. He didn’t even ask what the vacancies were.

Brett Ramharter: Obviously, this isn’t something that could be resolved this evening. This would have to go back to committee, because we have no clue what the real status is of these unfilled positions. I guess I need some clarification. We count on getting 2.85% in savings – the majority of that comes from personnel. That turns into about $1.2 million in savings. We budget for a year-end balance of a little over – approximately – $920,000 and with the $1.2 million in savings, we get about $2.1 million – that’s how we get there. So I guess the question that I’ve got – is this intended to just reduce the size of next years budget? Is that what we’re looking at? As opposed to get savings which are already factored in?

Hendrickson: Yes, if you take 10 positions which are unfilled and have been unfilled and factor in even just $25,000 a year – that’s $250,000, not counting benefits. That would take you well over the $300,000 mark. So instead of raising the property tax 3.5 to 4.82 that would cover the shortfall and the administrative budget of $285,000 and then some.

Brett: So as a point of clarification – this really isn’t focused on the type of savings I was discussing – this is just designed to make the budget smaller by $300,000+.

Hendrickson: OK

Walzer: So if I understand this correctly, Mr. Hendrickson wants to reduce the staff by 10 positions. We don’t know what the positions are. We don’t know how the work is being done now. I know in places I’ve worked before, empty positions are often filled with overtime, which is costly and also difficult on employees – or even worse, being required to get the work done for more than one employee in just 40 hours. I think it’s unwise to just ax 10 employee positions that are open at the moment. That’s what I’m hearing Mr. Hendrickson say. I think the city’s done an overall good job of looking at the turnover rate and incorporating that into the budget. I can not support that.

Childers: Asks the Mayor for clarification about Hendrickson’s continual referal to a city “shorftall” – he says: I am unaware of a city shortfall. Is there a city shortfall that I haven’t been informed about, Mayor?

Mayor: No sir.

Childers: So we don’t have a shortfall. If that is the reason to not hire people to do work that needs to be done, then cutting them is not a good reason.

Wilkins: I keep hearing we are not in a shortfall, but I keep hearing that we are $300 and some thousand that we need to fulfill the budget. But maybe we could save a couple thousand because we won’t hire this or that. What is the cost of inflation that we are all paying. What percentage did that go up? And what percentage are salaries going up for the cost of living – because people should have a little of that. So what, beyond that, are we bringing taxes up to 4.8? I guess I don’t understand why we have to raise taxes if we don’t have a shortfall. Something’s not there. I’m not going to support this budget because I feel the process was wrong. I’m not in support of raising taxes. I’m in support of cost-of-living, if that is all it is. I think it’s more than that.

I only did a couple things – and one was to just get $1,000 more for the city band. And we only give $4 or $5,000 to start with. I could see right away that there really wasn’t supposed to be money for extras and things like that, so I withdrew that. I’m upset about the process. Administration should be doing the cuts. They know the positions, and it is up to our department heads to do the cuts.

Hendrickson: Mr. Childers, let me remind you about the revenue shortfall. I don’t call it a deficit because it wasn’t a deficit. We didn’t find out about the shortfall until the first week in August. If you remember, back in July we had a discussion “why are we discussing this until we find out the final numbers.” None of these problems are at the fault of the administration.
Helena – the Department of Revenue – shorted us $261,000. We had $104,00 increase in our liability insurance. There was $160,000 mistake in our budgeting. Which comes out to $525,00. That’s the shortfall. So the original budget called for a 3.5 increase in property taxes. With the cuts that the majority made of $32,000 out of a $43 million budget and the few things of savings with the Hell’s Angels rally we came up with a $285,000 shortfall. Which was made up by the 1.32 percent increase of the 3.5 increase in the original budget.

The other shortfall comes in our CIP, where our internal financing $1,064,000 which will cost us $111,000 a year in financing. Which, Mr. Wiener is fine and dandy with. I’m not fine and dandy with that because 1/3 of our CIP will be spoken for. We’re entering FY09 with $589,000 out of a $2.1 million budget which is 40% already spoken for. That $208,000 for aquatics, $129,000 for White Pine Sash $85,000 for the chambers we’re sitting in $58,000 I believe for the fire department and the rest spread out wherever it’s spread out to be. Next year with $111,000 added on, it brings us to $700,000 with the projected spreadsheet from the administration my fiscal year 2013 we’ll be internally financing over $1,000,000 which will be well over $50% of our capitol improvement program. That’s based on 2% growth in revenue, which I don’t believe we’re obtaining right now. There’s your shortfall.

Strohmeier: I have to take exception with Councilman Hendrickson’s comments also. I think that over the past few weeks much of the rancor that we’ve seen develop around this budget discussion has been predicated on a false assumption. And that is that the original executive budget somehow did not include any increase in tax and that increasing our general fund tax levy is something that’s materialized in a matter of weeks…and that simply is not the case and I think that this council recognizes it, although I’m not sure that it has been translated in very much clarity to the general public. The original executive budget was proposing around a 3.5 percent increase as opposed to what is now being offered, 4.82 – both of which are less than the tax increases in some of the previous years that I’ve seen done with council without any rancor whatsoever. So I’m a little perplexed by that. I do want to step back and say a couple comments and then I’ll begin first by saying I won’t support the amendment before us because it’s entirely inappropriate at this late stage in the game when we’ve had time to discuss fat in this budget.

Rye: It seems that we’ve gone a little off-topic from the amendment and I’m not going to support the amendment and I do want to get to the general budget. The amendment doesn’t actually save us any money and could actually harm some city employees if one person is doing the work of 2 at the moment, so I won’t support this and I will call for the question.

Mayor: (since calling for the question isn’t debatable, he calls for a vote and the voice vote is unclear, so he goes for a show of hands) In favor of ending debate 6 Of continuing, 6. Motion fails on a tie. Question of amendment is still before

Jaffe: The vacancy savings is already factored in, but I supposed he wants to increase that vacancy savings by not ever filling those in, which I guess would generate more savings. But I’m not going to support the amendment. It would be helpful to know what those positions are and all the implications and ramifications of not filling them. That is possibly something something that could have been favorable, but without the details I can’t support it.

Hendrickson: I want to address some comments that Strohmeier made. No. 1, I did recognize the administrations original budget at 3.5 and just because we’re lower this year than previous years doesn’t make this budget right. Especially when its at 4.82 percent and the city hasn’t demonstrated any belt tightening. Now I do commend the mayor and the administration on their original budget of bringing it in $1,000,000 less than the previous year but when we found ourselves a half million dollars in a shortfall the majority of the council only come up with $32,000 worth of cuts. Not filling the 10 vacancies is not a hardship. I don’t have anybody calling me up saying “I couldn’t get this done,” “I couldn’t get that done,” and some of these vacancies are holdovers from FY08. We’re 3 months into FY09. I do not think a hiring freeze would be a hardship on the citizens of Missoula or the city government. We can discuss this budget up to the last minute. If we can save a dollar here and a dollar there. If we can cut $300,000 from the budget without hurting services, then we should do that.

Something happens with my DVR here..but it picks up with the motion to amend failing.

This appear to have gotten testy during my DVR’s blip time.

Dick Haines calls the people who are going to vote for the budget as having “pointy little heads” and acting as if they are “playing with monopoly money.”

Stacey Rye points out that not only is she offended, but that she believes that it is her job – our job – as a policy maker to look at the budget and see that it goes in a direction, policy-wise, in a direction that she, as a policy maker, would like it to go. She goes on discussion the 5 year elimination of the parks budget for upkeep of basic infrastructure. She talks about the greenhouse gas commitee that has failed to come up with any appreciable cuts – and then suggests what she calls “low hanging fruit” such as having the parking enforcement people use bikes and having the police dedicate 3% of its time to foot patrols.

Mitchell says she’s been geared up for the budget. She thinks that next year is going to be day ju (sic) all over again. There was a lot of hard work but when the late numbers came it, it generated more discussion. It seems like at this time we had an opportunity to actually start talking turkey across the aisle. I think that in the future we need to look at things. We need to look hard. I think if we fail to do this we are going to go through the same thing. We need to prepare for the worse and hope for the best. The reason I am against raising the budget is that I don’t think that we have worked hard enough to keep costs down.

Jaffe: The 2.29% barely keeps up with inflation – probably doesn’t actually – so the portion of the budge that is within our control, the increase is inline with the rate of inflation. If you look at it in real $, in the end, the average portion of the city tax is 48 dollars a month. I still think that is a pretty good deal. People are spending more than that on their cable tv. I’m very comfortable voting for the budget. As far as the CIP – these are extremely expensive things. A fire truck is $1,000,000. It is a perfectly sound way of financing our business. There is simply no other way to pay for it.

With 7 – 5 vote, the budget passes.

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  1. goof houlihan

    So at a time when building permits and planning and zoning applications are off by some significant percentage, there’s no slack in those offices? Bozeman cut the affordable housing administrator, cut several vacant positions in the planning office, and one administrative assistant position to half time, and cut significantly in the building department, due to the amount of work going down in some months by 60%. Maybe things are still going full blast in Missoula?

    Bozeman also has an administrative hiring delay, not freeze, that will leave positions vacant and re-evaluate for a time rather than filling them immediately.

    Also, I think there’s a good chance that the 50% increase in taxable value in five years will slow to 2-3% in 09, less than what would be necessary for a flat budget, and well below what bargaining agreements call for.

    Obviously, every city is different, but I can understand the need to hold the line on budgets this year, when facing almost certain shortfalls next year.

    Capital improvements dependent on impact fees will be delayed significantly in building slowdowns continue.

  2. At some point, after my fingers got tired and by DVR created a blip from which I couldn’t recover, someone said that building permits are down by 30%…

    I think that making a motion to not hire the 10 vacancies without knowing what those vacancies were – I mean, were the a police officer? Two officers? A subdivision planner? What? – it was a little hard to deal with.

    There’s an explanation in there on the hiring process. Each department, basically, is expected to leave position vacant to meet a vacancy savings that is automatically budgeted. Further, to have vacancies ‘held over’ from FY08 isn’t unusual at all – that’s pretty typical to take a few months to fill an empty position.

    Considering you have to pay out the sick and comp and vacation time – you might have to leave that position unfilled for quite a while to actually get to the automatically budgeted vacancy savings. I mean, if you got someone retiring? They’ll have a boatload, typically, of sick time to be paid out.

    I think, goof, what needs to be fixed is something up there in the legislature that allows taxes to be increased at half the rate of inflation or something like that? That’s FUBAR – a losing proposition.

    Missoula’s growth is slowing down – although I don’t know that Gallatin is doing so at the same rate – that is, if you believe the Department of Revenue’s projections. Flathead, Ravalli and Gallatin will be growing quite fast. Missoula is projected to start slowing down. And that is relative – Missoula is going to ‘slow’ to 3%, while you others are expected to increase a bit faster than that.

  3. goof houlihan

    Across the board cuts are generally proposed as an expression of exasperation with the administration…it’s a message from the legislative to the administrative. With the unwieldy size of the Missoula commission, I can see how, at times, the commission begins to resemble the legislature when arguing about the budget!

    Yes, there’s a half the rate of inflation restriction, however, the other side of that coin was that the legislature allowed the levy for health insurance and medical costs to be raised without limit.

    And local governments are allowed 100% of “newly taxable” value, provided, of course, we have a DOR director who can get his head from his ass long enough to provide correct newly taxable values. That is not subject to the half rate of inflation cap, jh. That’s why the incremental growth rate, the 3% you refer to, or the 10% I talked about, is so important. That growth is what pays for “bike ped coordinators” and lots of new programs that never seem to be reevaluated…hence the exasperation and call for across the board cuts or hiring “freezes”.

    I don’t buy the “we need more money” argument. In Bozeman, taxable value increased fifty percent in five years, yet the other side of the tax equation, the number of mills, did not go down. What we need are commissioners with the ability to say “no” when times warrant it, and be able to express, coherently, the reasons why.

  4. I don’t know how impacts fees are done in Bozeman, goof – but we’ve had consultants determine legally defensible rates for these fees, and then we adopt fees that are percentages lower than those figures.

    Then there’s my other continual drumbeat: Fees for any and all permits do not cover the actual cost of administrating them. Taxpayers are subsidizing all kinds of stuff like that – from building permit fees to business licenses, hearings for variances, etc.

    Somewhere something is going to have to give – we’ve got water and sewer infrastructure in town that is nearing 100 years old. Well past maximum age. A Yellowstone volcano waiting to happen.

  5. Let me add, though – proposing to cut essentially a whole department’s staff, including maintenance people, and suggesting that community service can do it is ludicrous. Suggesting to “skim” 20% off in staff, without understanding what current work load they do and whether it is even a viable suggestion, is ludicrous.

    I liked Rye’s stuff – I couldn’t type it all – but you really need to look at all kinds of things – energy savings would be big if there were an honest assessment of lights and heat and computers and gas and more use of bikes where viable, officer’s on foot, etc.

    And frankly, I’m not all happy about self-insured stuff. Maybe they should assess all that – see if new hires can be brought on to one of the state’s 15 or so plans? I don’t know if that is legal – but that self-insured stuff is another timebomb waiting to happen. 1 bad year could take out huge chunks of cash. It was creating big problems for the county not too long ago….and is just plain Not smart.

  6. Could anyone have predicted that the budget would pass 7-5?

    If so, then what was the point of the heated discussion – to get all hot and bothered? Perhaps to make some overheated political point? To get yourself in the paper tomorrow morning?

    Mr. Hendrickson, I think, has made his point. But, to what effect?

  7. goof houlihan

    Doesn’t matter how legally defensible impact fees are…if no one is building, no one is paying. See?

    And you cannot argue impact fees for decaying infrastructure. That’s “old” not “new” and you can’t use impact fees for replacing (except for new capacity). Truth is, every man woman and child in Montana owes an average of nearly 2000 dollars for decaying water and sewer infrastructure, according to the Federal Reserve. It can be much higher in smaller towns. Deferred maintenance is always a choice of elected officials when faced with funding depreciation or starting new programs….AND, yes, and, sewer and water are rate, not tax, funded and not subject to the legislative caps. The commission could fund repairs anytime they’ve got the political gumption to do so!

    Cutting departments, well, that’s nothing a commission should do “off the cuff”. Who will take care of the parks, then? However, take a look at what a small Montana city funds, and what Missoula funds…or Bozeman. If tax collection growth is severely limited, there will be those kinds of wholesale adjustments unless you go for voter approved levies for all purpose fund programs.

    Administering fees isn’t that expensive, and should be built into the fees themselves…provided, of course, you’ve got that “legally defensible” part down correctly. Bozeman puts admin into the fees, and yes, Bozeman’s got the studies. However, the city is borrowing against the general fund because impact fee collections are so uncertain and the city needs to finish it’s new impact fee funded fire station.

    I don’t know much about groundwater, but local government budgets, and budgeting, and finance, well…I COULD…er… teach that course to college students or commissioners.

  8. Ed Childers

    Bits and pieces.
    The notion of a hiring freeze was part of Hendrickson’s 1.5 million proposal. It’s been around for weeks.
    I think I’ve finally grasped a portion of Hendrickson’s use of “shortfall;” unfortunately, it’s not the same part he uses. It appears that a “shortfall,” in JH’s usage, is any increase over the prior year’s budgeted expenditures (and has NOTHING to do with revenues, which may have been the part I missed). So using JH’s “shortfall,” the city’s original shortfall was estimated to be 3.5%. The budget we passed Monday covered a “shortfall” of 4.82%.
    The “shortfall” JH et al. referred to was the difference between the original “shortfall” and the final “shortfall.” See?
    Now to stumble through the rest of it.
    JWilkins: he says he keeps hearing 300,000+ dollar shortfall and we need to cut the budget. Who does he hear it from? Not from the Mayor, not from the Finance Director. Apparently he’s hearing it from JHendrickson.
    JW said he supports cost-of-living. The CPI was over 5%. The budgeted General levy increase is less than 3%. Add the voted firehall levy to that and the total increase is still under 5%. Despite saying he supports cost-of-living, and despite the budgeted increase being less than the cost of living, JW voted against the budget. Go figure. It’s as if it was predetermined.
    JH says “the city hasn’t demonstrated any belt tightening. Now I do commend the mayor and the administration on their original budget of bringing it in $1,000,000 less than the previous year but when we found ourselves a half million dollars in a shortfall the majority of the council only come up with $32,000 worth of cuts.”
    Once again, JH fails to recognize that under his definition, “shortfall” equals any expenditure increase over last year. I guess so, anyway. Or maybe that comes from an entirely different direction.
    Here’s something interesting: JH says “”I don’t have anybody calling me up saying “I couldn’t get this done,” “I couldn’t get that done,””” Are employees are supposed to call JH and tell him if they can’t get something done? Or are those Missoulians who don’t call with complaints? Oh well.
    DHaines thinks some of us have “pointy little heads.” The Missoulian thinks we have “pretty little heads.” I don’t know which is the better insult.
    Here’s a correction: Jaffe said (should have said, anyway) 2.92%, not 2.29%.
    Something I seem to recall hearing on the news, that Goof didn’t include: I heard Whitefish laid off 7.
    The 1/2-inflation straitjacket: I had an interesting discussion early Monday about that. The Miller Creek firehall opened up; we’re paying for new firefighters with a grant for a couple years. A firehall costs 800,000-1,000,000 per year to run. That’s a terrific strain on the general fund budget. Why is that? We’ve been funding firehalls with general revenues forever. Why should it be a strain now? Is the new firehall unnecessary? The answer to that is no. There are now 5 stations for 70,000 residents. That’s over 12,000 people per station, and it’s a ratio we’ve tried to maintain for decades. Why is it tough to fund now? Trace that to the 1/2-inflation straitjacket coming home to roost. We’ve survived on gambling revenues, fee increases, new growth, and impact fees. So now what, do we need a firehall operation levy to cover the continuing “shortfall!” in general property tax revenue caused by the 1/2 inflation limit? Maybe so.
    Goof: for what it’s worth, we’re a Council, not a Commission.
    Across the Board Cuts: that proposal has been put forth most years; it used to come from Nicholson, maybe from Lovegrove. Why? Apparently because of a sometimes-spoken belief that by golly there just has to be a bunch of fat that the Administration knows about and won’t trim. It’s never been about anything that has been substantiated; if it had been, that fat would be gone. After all, people on the Council pay taxes, and none of them that I know of want to pay for people to do nothing. Still, nearly every year I’ve been on the Council the proposal has been put forward. I think it’s ingrained in “conservative” thinking that no government at any level ever operates efficiently. With the probable exception of a US government under absolute Republican control.
    This year I don’t remember the full across-the-board proposal coming up. I think JH’s million and a half was a more targeted version of the same thing, which I see as an improvement.
    The notion that health insurance is the “flip side” of a city budget is, of course, ludicrous. And the notion that a city’s ongoing costs are related to one-time “newly taxable” property doesn’t really work in the long run, although that has helped us get by. See the firehall stuff.
    As for the ability to say “no” when times warrant it, I’d say it’s inherent in the organization. However, the ability to recognize when times warrant cutting back is not; witness the Councilfolk who carried the Budget Shortfall shtick to the very end. Or witness the Councilfolk who voted to fund the City. As JH might say, we’ll see.

  9. Hendrickson wanted a Hiring freeze? I can think of a lot of good freeze ideas. A Having Babies freeze. A Polluting the Air and Water freeze. A Performing Arts Center for the Kids and the Rich White People freeze. A George Dennison Taking Out A Perfectly Good Blue Collar Golf Course That Everyone Loves freeze. A People Who Have an Irrational Hatred of Government Getting Involved In Government freeze. A Trick-or-Treaters Trick-or-Treating At John Hendrickson’s House freeze.

    I could go on …

    This is by far my favorite blog post header of the year.

    Thanks, jhwygirl!

  10. Look you silly people, wannabe bureacrat types, have no idea of the kinds of legal “issues” involved here. Catch my drift?

    I know you guys are really upset about some of the budgetary details, but you’re really not getting the bigger picture here. Got it?

    Listen, I’m in my third week of pre-law, and as having just met with the pre-law club this week for a UC table bake sale, I’ve got some ideas to share. You’ll take note, ok?

    First, learn more about the law. Then you’ll be able to make something fine of yourself without having to grovel over all these political budgetary details. Hear what I’m saying?

    Secondly, let lawyers decide these thing because… well, they’re alot smarter with the many legal principles and laws that many of you might not even know existed. If it weren’t for Law and Order and NPR and all that. Get what I mean?

    So let’s just slow this conversation down a little, sit down, and talk about this like mature, level-headed adults. You follow me here?

    Did I mention I’m pre-law? Yeah. So I know this stuff. I’ve got to get back to my homework.

  11. PS I wonder, if jhwy has a personal interest in these deliberations, perhaps a more potent –which is a legal term– reason for hating Hendrickson. What else is attached to those budget cuts he’s talking about? If we knew who the real JHWY girl was, would we wonder why she’s slamming Hendrickson anonymously. A little close to home don’t you think? Sure was a long passage you devote to attacking him. Takes some real personal passion to sit down and type all that. Wonder what kind of fuel could “instigate” that fire. Yep, another legal term as well. Instigate means to start. Got it?

    Ok.

    Did I mention I’m pre-law?

    Anyhow, you’re personally going after a guy for a position that’s pretty understandable from his political philosophy. It shouldn’t be such a suprise that he wants to… come up with crazy ideas to cut the budget based on abstract numbers. Hmmm. I wonder why?

    Maybe it’s because he’s one of those… fiscal conservatives?

    Maybe it’s because they… raised taxes and didn’t cut spending. Don’t people of that ilk have strong feelings about that issue?

    Hmmm, hasn’t history brought us the crazy characters like Hendrickson before? I know that’s alot to simmer on, and there’s legalities involved, but c’mon, leave the guy alone. You clearly have a tacit beef with him.

    I also want to give a shout out to Craig Jones! Yo I’m on the INTERNET now CRAIG!!!

    I’m PRE-LAW BAYBEE!

  12. Did I attack him, or did I attack what he wanted to do? Was I specific in what I didn’t like him doing or did I attack him based on him merely wanting to cut the budget?

    “…but c’mon, leave the guy alone”? What? Hendrickson needs a PRE-LAW BAYBEE pleading his case? He can’t speak for himself?

    Too funny. Or maybe too pathetic.

  13. goof houlihan

    Dunno how ludicrous is is, Ed. It was a good day when local governments had their levy for health care benefits exempted from the cap. Some counties and cities had large increases in their levies as a result, and their employees got good health care. However, lawmakers were unwilling to abandon the “I-105” like controls over local governments and the price we paid for the good, health care levy, was the bad, the half the three year trailing average of inflation increase.

    I was there when both happened and know the ins and outs pretty well from the county and city perspective.

    As for what is straight jacketing local governments, it is two things arising from the “big bill” changes and from the phase in of the 2002 reappraisal. First, the problem of local governments in growing counties giving up all revenues from new banks, (that’s corporate license taxes) and new vehicles (other than the local option portion) and other growth related revenues. Those go into the “entitlement” and are dished out on some bogus formula based on last century’s conditions. No wonder we can’t keep up with growth and pay for new fire fighters in new firefighters, our money’s going to Baker.

    Second, the terrible “phase in” rules. Let’s say a new WalMart was built in 2005. The DOR adds the “newly taxable” as what it would have appraised at in 1998, adds 3*16.67% of the phase in increase, and that is the “newly taxable”d that the local government gets, not the appraised value in 2005 when it was built. Future phase ins are not part of “newly taxable” and local governments don’t get to raise their budgets on it, never mind that we never get to actually add the 2005 value. No wonder “growth never pays for itself”, it’s never fairly valued and a lot of the taxes from growth go elsewhere.

    You see, compared to those, at least in the Gallatin or Flathead, or Ravalli, the “half of inflation straightjacket” isn’t as impactful.

    I do appreciate your reply, and I’m not calling you out, Ed, but the history of the half of inflation and the health care levy are related and go back to I-105 and the 1993 changes to that cap. It’s not ludicrous to put them in that context.

  14. Ed Childers

    Hi, Goof. Your explanations and your take on them is always helpful.
    “Ludicrous” was probably excessive, but I think not inaccurate. Putting one employee benefit levy outside the cap doesn’t address trying to keep pay up with inflation, trying to keep up with the cost of equipment and supplies. It’s nice but it’s not the flipside of the rest of the budget.
    Having the health insurance levy outside the cap helps immensely. We’ve managed to avoid increases in it the past couple years (if I’m remembering right), but only because of our good claims experience. When the City of Missoula went through a rough few years not so long ago we had large levy increases, some decrease in coverage, and for the first time we instituted employee contributions.
    I believe you neglected to include gambling revenues going into the Big Bill pot. Big chunk of money.
    Thanks for the “Phase In” stuff. What I think is, the Legislature wanted to phase increases in over 6 years, and for some reason (maybe it wasn’t clear in the legislation) the Dept. of Revenue interpreted that as a cyclic guide. Strange. And not beneficial.
    I’m thinking Bozeman has a number of citywide levies that Missoula hasn’t done (yet). You might be able to elaborate on that. Or tell me I’m wrong. :)
    Ah, I guess I’ll keep “ludicrous,” not to your interpretation, but to the system itself. It’s goofy, Goof.

  15. Self-insurance, Ed, is a nightmare waiting to happen.

  16. Ed Childers

    We do what we can with stop-loss and a reserve, but you’re right.
    Plenty of other nightmares waiting for city governments, too.

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