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Great Falls continues education efforts on upcoming public safety levy

mill levy sep 18.jpg
Posted at 2:23 PM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 19:42:06-04

GREAT FALLS — There's been a lot of talk about the upcoming public safety levy that Great Falls voters will decide the fate of on November 7.

The city is asking voters to authorize approval of more than $10.7 million dollars that will increase funding for fire, police, court and legal services to adequately meet the needs of a growing community.

With less than two months before voters head to the polls, an effort to educate the public on the levy is shifting into high gear.

An informational website paid for by the City of Great Falls says voters haven't approved an increase in public safety funding since 1969.

It adds, that since then, the footprint of the city has grown by 44%, straining public safety.

If approved, the levy would fund more resources for the police and fire departments.

But it would come at a substantial cost.

The owner of a $200,000 home could expect to pay an additional $280 dollars in taxes per year.

Police Chief Jeff Newton says he understands the financial impact, but also the need for more resources.

"For a healthy community to grow, you have to have a strong public safety component, both fire, police, the prosecutor's office and the judge's office," said Newton. "So when we talk about these things, we're partners on it. You have to have one to have the other. So, we have to work and together to do that. If you're strong on both sides, it makes community that much better."

The city will continue to educate the public about the levy with a series of upcoming meeting.

Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m., the police chief and city leaders will present to neighborhood Council #1 at the Meadow Lark Elementary Library.

Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m., a similar meeting for Neighborhood Council #2 will be held at the West Elementary Library.

On Monday, September 18 at 6:00 p,m,, a second public safety town hall meeting takes place at the Mansfield Theater.