Missoula Mayoral Candidate on Property Taxes and Marshall Mountain
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - In an effort to introduce those running for mayor of Missoula to all our listeners and online users at KGVO, mayoral candidate Andrea Davis appeared on Tuesday’s Talk Back program to answer questions about her candidacy.
Addressing the current city budget, Davis said there are costs that are fixed due to contractual obligations.
Andrea Davis is one of Several Missoula Residents Running for Mayor
“We are seeing higher demand for services in our community than we are able to bring in revenue to support,” began Davis. “Over 50 percent of the city's budget is public safety, and so that is police and fire. The cost of living in Missoula is certainly an issue for our public service workers as well as our teachers, and so the need to have competitive wages will absolutely impact the Missoula tax base. It's a real give and take and we have to talk about what kind of trade-offs that we are willing to do.”
Davis addressed what she called the ironic nature of property taxes and home value.
“Of course, we want our property values to be high because when we sell, we want to be able to redeem that value,” she said. “At the same time, we want to be able to have people that are living and working in our community to be able to afford a home and we don't want to pay extra exorbitantly for our city services. So I will just say that we're all a little bit in this ironic situation together.”
Davis said she is Eager to find More Efficient ways to Spend Taxpayer Dollars
Davis said she is eager, if elected, to mine deep into the city’s budget numbers to find more cost-effective ways to govern the city.
“We need to make sure that we are managing our budget carefully,” she said. “We need to take a look at every budget line item. I have not had the opportunity as mayor yet to walk through the budget line item by line item with the department heads. But I think that is an opportunity for us to at least go through one cycle of zero-based budgeting so we can understand that we are budgeting for all necessary items and then do priority-based budgeting moving forward.”
Davis said the Purchase of Marshall Mountain will be Good for Recreation
One caller questioned the wisdom of purchasing the Marshall Mountain recreation area, to which Davis responded that with more people moving into the area, then more recreation opportunities will be necessary.
“There is an open space committee that you can find on the city parks web page if that would be an opportunity for you to take a look at how to have public input on the purchase of a piece of open space like Marshall Mountain,” she said. “But I would say that our need and desire to recreate is only growing and there are a lot of folks that moved to Montana for just that purpose.”
Davis is the long-time Executive Director of Homeward, an agency that teaches home buyer education and financial skill building and creating safe, healthy homes people can afford.