FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Becky Riedl, Chair of the Yellowstone County Democratic Central Committee, said that on September 15th the Central Committee adopted a Resolution supporting the City of Billings Safety Mill Levy that will be on the November 2nd Municipal Election ballot.
“Yellowstone County Democrats want our City to have efficient high quality police and fire services to enhance the lives of our citizens,” she added.
As adopted, the resolution reads as follows:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Yellowstone County Democratic Central Committee supports the Billings Safety Mill Levy to be voted on in the Municipal General Election on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, because the funds are needed to protect and serve the citizens of Billings.
Funding for the Police and the Fire Department has not kept up with the growth in our City, and, as taxpayers, we must act to address the increase in serious crime and the need for adequate fire protection.
These vital public services, Riedl said, are necessary for the economic health of our community and for its future as a vibrant caring place to live. “It is unfortunate,” she added, “that Republican legislators and state officials have shifted the burden of essential services like police and fire onto the backs of residential property taxpayers while creating a tax system that gives huge tax breaks to wealthy corporations and individuals. Nevertheless, we cannot let our community deteriorate, as Democrats and their many allies, continue to work hard to restore a fair and equitable tax system in Montana.”
At this time, Riedl said, the Safety Mill Levy appears to be the only available solution to meet the needs of our Billings community. She noted that a recent comprehensive study of the Billings Police concluded that improvements in efficiency and service require additional staffing in both the Police and Fire Departments. When compared with similar cities in Montana and the nation, the report shows that Billings has only 131.6 officers per 100,000 people compared to an average of 250.2 officers per 100,000 people in other communities.
And the Billings Fire Department is handling almost double the number of calls it did just a few years ago. Recommended changes in the department will improve efficiency there and save money over time for both the City and the homeowners whose insurance rates are determined, in part, by the response time and the fine service provided by the Fire Department.