Kalispell MT: (Op-Ed) Why We Won’t Vote ‘Yes’ For the Emergency Responder Levy

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Everyone has their opinions on certain matters and thoughts concerning why they want to support certain issues/ measures over others and that is the point of this article. This article is not intended to persuade others’ decisions but rather is our family’s response as people have asked what our thoughts on an Emergency Responder Levy are.

Kalispell has mailed out an Emergency Responder Levy to be voted on with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response by March 19, 2024. (See the City of Kalispell website information below).

City Council is asking the citizens of Kalispell to decide on an emergency responder mill levy to further fund Police, Fire, and Ambulance services. The mail ballot will be sent to Kalispell registered voters by the Flathead County Election Department February 28, with a return deadline of March 19, 2024.

FISCAL IMPACT

The proposed ballot calls for the voters to authorize the City of Kalispell to levy up to sixty and nine tenths (60.9) additional mills per year (approximately $4,626,170.00 in the first year, based on FY2024 mill value). The impact of levying sixty and nine tenths (60.9) additional mills in the current year on a home valued at $100,000, would be approximately $82.22 in additional property taxes per year, equaling $6.85 per month, or $0.23 per day. Use this interactive map to view the estimated cost of the levy for your property.  Funding would be dedicated to the sole purpose of funding our Emergency Response, as outlined in the ballot language.”

In other words if you vote ‘yes’ to funding Police, Fire, and Ambulance services in the current levy your fee will be roughly $400 per year on a home valued at approximately $500k.

Our family has decided that we will vote “No” on the Emergency Responder Levy (and we have rationale to back up our reasoning).

  1. Our property taxes alone are outrageous (And yes this is a city issue and not a county issue but the premise here is being gouged to death). Food has gone up in price as has gas, and utilities (our water bill is far higher than previously and gasoline is out of control).
  2. We are constantly being asked to give, give, give. Every time we turn around a new levy is being proposed by the Kalispell School District (which is a county levy even though some of the schools are within the city). It’s crazy enough to be paying (being forced to pay) for other peoples’ children via our property taxes.
  3. The cost of living in Montana doesn’t warrant another ‘bill’ when wages in general don’t keep up with the cost of living.
  4. Granted there may be a few more police needed however, firemen are needed when there are fires and aside from that, we don’t need a lot more help from them. Also many firemen don’t have the ambulance training needed to make those calls so it appears we’re not in dire need of more firemen.
  5. “Once we give them an inch they will take a mile”. Once you shell out funding for these types of measures these city workers will come back time and time again for more.

As far as crime goes we would rather (if we have to spend more money on a service) spend it on mental health facilities and homes such as Teen Challenge (which serves adults as well as teens) to help detox individuals and help them lead productive lives instead of committing crimes.

And to top it off local firemen are going door to door asking people if they will vote for the levy and if not? why not? The point is, it is not permitted for these workers to go to door to pander or sway people for votes.

In conclusion: We all need to look out more each day for our neighbors, including neighborhood crime watches, and be conscientious and responsibly exert our Constitutional rights.

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