Archive for July 1st, 2009

by jhwygirl

Ravalli County Board of County Commissioners approved a measure that will put a one mill levy on the June 2010 ballot to fund the Valley Veterans Service Center.

The center has an annual budget of $39,000, while donations and grants to the non-profit total out at about $26,000. They’ve been struggling for some time, but not for lack of clients – many of whom are not able, or have tremendous difficulty making the trip to Missoula or Helena for services.

Ravalli County has 5,600 veterans. The entire state of Montana has 109,000. There are 23 centers here in Montana that provide services to veterans – two of them are in Missoula.

Ron Skinner, the center’s director, opened the place 3 years ago.

Wow. Think about that challenge. Think about budget – and using that term brings new meaning to the word “budget,” doesn’t it?

Senator Tester is working to bring real funding to the center.

A mill levy is pretty unique to fund a non-profit. That is not lost on some – check out the comments on the story. Should the government be providing the funding? Yep. The government entered into a contract with these service men and women, and they have an obligation to follow through. Does providing additional funding harm? Hell no…but reliance of this sort to provide services to veterans is the obligation of the federal government and all taxpayers.

From the sounds of the comments, and the quotes from the BCC, the one mill levy should have no problem. Hopefully the center can hold on for that long – even if approved, the funding won’t be available until June 2011. At some point, though, the federal government is going to have to realize that not all veterans live in cities and at some point they’re going to have to figure out how to get the services they promised to the people they promised them too.

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