With Mayor John Engen pushing for a fifth four-year term as Mayor, one of his three challengers appeared on Talk Back on Friday.

Former Grizzly football player and businessman Jacob Elder said one of his premiere issues if elected would be to ease the way for developers to build more housing in Missoula.

“Currently we have builders that are going in and they're being dragged out for about a year just to get that permit,” said Elder. “We don't want to make things difficult for you. We want to encourage our builders to be able to build in our community so, whatever we can do working with our planning board and with the developers in town, and we're committed to ensuring that they can get out there and get the permit and build.”

Elder provided some particulars in that effort.

“We plan on easing zoning restrictions such as minimum lot sizes, parking requirements, accessory dwelling units, (ADU’s) and low cost housing options to enable builders to build and which will increase our supply,” he said. “So, this is a human issue. It isn't about a liberal issue or a conservative issue; it's all of our issue. And I think that we just have to enable builders to build so we could get people in housing.”

Another issue with Elder is his contention that the present administration is not transparent in it’s dealing with the public.

“You can expect me to be transparent at all times,” he said. “And one of the things that my team and I have discussed is that we're going to have perhaps once or twice a month where we're come out with a detailed plan of how your money is being spent, and you can have a comment session where you ask us questions about our spending, and if we're off track there, we will readjust and take your concerns into consideration.”

After taking several calls, Elder wrapped up with this comment.

“As Missoula’s next mayor, I will be working for you and your input would be imposed in each and every decision that we make in the mayor's office. Your voice matters. Our community input matters. We don't make decisions and the city government should never make decisions without consulting with their constituents, with their voters, and asking them how they think about how their tax dollars are being spent.”


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