2/18 City Commission Meeting: Golf & Garbage Fees, Climate Change Task Force

Editors note: E-City Beat has requested and received permission to copy and paste Great Falls City Commissioner Rick Tryon’s reports from his public commissioner’s Facebook page, ‘Rick Tryon for a Greater Great Falls’.


As a way to partially fulfill my personal commitment to working for transparent and responsive City government I’ll be posting brief weekly previews and recaps of Great Falls City Commission work sessions and regular meetings.

The idea is to highlight a few of the upcoming City Commission meeting topics that would be especially relevant and interesting to local citizens and to encourage your feedback, ideas and input, through the comments section here and by your personal attendance at the meetings if possible.

You can find the full agenda and agenda packets for the upcoming meeting, as well as minutes for previous meetings, here – https://greatfallsmt.net/meetings

REGULAR MEETING – Tuesday February 18, 7:00 PM Commission Chambers

Here are a few items of particular public interest:


VOTE ON RAISING GARBAGE COLLECTION FEES – Resolution 10324, Establishing Residential and Commercial Sanitation Service CollectionRates Effective March 1, 2020. Action: Conduct a public hearing and adopt or deny Res. 10324. Presented by Jim Rearden and Melissa Kinzler)

VOTE ON RAISING GOLF FEES – Resolution 10329, Establishing Golf Fees for Eagle Falls Golf Club and Anaconda Hills Golf Course. Action: Conduct a public hearing and adopt or deny Res. 10329. (Presented by Steve Herrig)


VOTE ON APPOINTING A CITY TASK FORCE AND HIRING SOMEONE FOR A YEAR TO DEVELOP PROPOSALS AS TO HOW THE CITY CAN MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND BECOME MORE “CLIMATE RESILIENT” THROUGH ENERGY USE POLICY – Resolution 10333, A Resolution of the City of Great Falls regarding the adoption of an Energy Response Task Force. Action: Adopt or deny Res. 10333. (Presented by Commissioner Moe and Citizen’s for Clean Energy

View the whole agenda and detailed agenda items information here detailed agenda items information here https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/…/MEET-Pack…

This is your city government and these issues affect you and your family. YOU’RE THE BOSS.”

Reader interactions

13 Replies to “2/18 City Commission Meeting: Golf & Garbage Fees, Climate Change Task Force”

  1. What the Hell! No spend our money for growth and security in our city. No no no.


  2. Why not limit the number of parking lots at Benefis and require them to build a parking structure?

    Also – Kathy is right- No money for a task force!


  3. Here is my two cents on the issue.

    Hiring this firm to conduct a study of great falls is only beneficial to people who believe climate change is caused by man. The people who believe climate change is natural, it’s a complete waste of money as nothing will happen but another ice age later on down the road causing the planet to cool again.

    As for saving money by being energy efficient yes I’m all for it. But I dont think you need a study to tell the maintenance people to start using led bulbs, sensor switches, proper insulation, energy efficient windows and appliances. Each department “that we are already paying” can do their own survey/inventory to figure out how to improve their facilities. So why are we hiring an outside group to tell us what everyone already knows

    So I’d say dont hire a firm and just work on making departments energy efficient.

    And no I didn’t know about it nor would I even think this would even be considered with the lack of funding we have for the basics


  4. This resolution would create an “Energy Response Task Force” and allocate $12,000 in city funds for an Energy Corp member to lead them. Look careful at the resolution and attached documentation. Citizens for Clean Energy states their ultimate goal for city on Page 142 as follows:

    “This citizens group will help to move towards a cleaner energy future including a more balanced energy portfolio called “40 X 25.” This represents an increase in clean energy sources of solar and wind to 40 percent by the year 2025.”

    Looks like the taxpayers of Great Falls will be buying solar panels and wind generators for the city. Solar panels have a limited useful life and wind generators cost money to maintain. So more taxpayer dollars, all for a climate change narrative that is not settled science despite the claims of popular culture.


  5. Dams, nuclear power plants, and coal fired generators also have a limited useful life and cost money to maintain. You didn’t know that? No science is ever settled but is based on probabilities. Why not look and see what the experts have to say and ignore the claims of popular culture and where ever else you get your information?


  6. Bill, you have deliberately misstated much of what I’ve written–that’s outright dishonest and indicative of someone lacking the logical skills to develop any meaningful argument.

    No, I obviously don’t get my information from popular culture. If I did I would have accepted the 12-years-to-disaster climate change narrative without question. Quite the contrary, I’ve looked at data and findings on both sides of the climate change argument (human mitigation mandatory to save planet vs human mitigation makes an almost imperceptible difference) over many years and came to my own conclusion that the climate change narrative pushed by many in popular culture, the media and the political left is severely flawed.

    Also, I never stated it was settled science. Take that up with those pushing the flawed narrative; many of them claim it is settled science. .

    And of course, dams, nuclear power plants and coal fired generators cost money to maintain. I never said they didn’t. But the city doesn’t maintain a dam, or a nuclear power plant or a coal fired generator all on its own, now does it? They buy power from a company which owns and runs power generating facilities and the maintenance costs of those facilities are spread to all consumers, not just the city.


  7. 97% of climate scientists agree the Earth is warming and it’s most likely due to mankind. And then there is you.


  8. That’s right–then there’s me–a person who evaluates the available data, the hypotheses, the arguments and the evidence and comes to my own conclusions, rather than take the easy route and merely accept the trap of the fallacy of the majority.


  9. And the citizens for clean energy will be the only ones appointed to the committee. And we be back in the electric city power business. Do they never learn.


  10. As someone who attended the meeting tonight, I can state unequivocally that there was more money burned just talking about this task force for an hour (or more) than $12,000. Five city council people, 10 or 12 city department heads, the two cops at the door, and all of us maybe 45 (?) citizen attendees.

    Commissioner Tryon brought up a legitimate point that more information was needed, and the Council ultimately agreed and postponed this initiative a month to get the additional information.

    Unfortunately he also went a bit too far and made the claim the initiative should be tabled indefinitely because the City should be doing more important things. This is a specious argument. The City Council can walk and chew gum at the same time, as evidenced by their agenda tonight, and so can City department heads. Not to mention this initative, to be run by an outside contractor from an outside organization and an apparently unpaid local committee, would not be taking up the City Council’s time and energy.

    My first Council meeting in many years. It was a very informative experience.


  11. Terry, I can state, as a frequent and long-time attendee at city commission meetings, that the hour spent discussing this resolution is no different from many other hours that have been spent at city commission meetings discussing contentious issues.

    I don’t see how you think $12,000 was burned tonight-department heads have to attend these meetings as part of their normal duties and I would guess most of them are salaried, so no extra cost there. Commissioners get paid the same whether the meeting is 1 hour or 4 hours long (and on some zoning issues, the meetings have been that long). There’s always police coverage at the commission meetings. So I think your math about $12,000 burned tonight is a ridiculous assertion. I don’t see how you can state anything unequivocally about this city commission meeting; you admit you haven’t attended one in years. That hardly makes you an expert able to state anything unequivocally about city commission meetings (btw, it’s city commission not council).

    It sad to me that you seem to think that an hour spent discussing this resolution was longer than necessary. This is, after all, a representative government last time I checked, meaning all the people have a right to voice their opinions, whether you agree or not and whether or not it takes longer than you think it should.

    My question for you is: Forming an “Energy Response Task Force” and spending taxpayer money for an Energy Corp member to head it up solves what current problem for the city? Because if it doesn’t solve a current problem, then the money should spent to solve the many current problems in this city. Or do you raise taxes to pay for everything everyone wants in this town, regardless of the need or necessity. I and many other taxpayers in this town can’t afford to pay more taxes.

    This ill-conceived resolution asked the city to commit an undetermined amount of money for this “energy response.” Let me remind you of the facts: no one could say what city budget area the money would come from and no one could say how much this Energy Corp member would cost. A $12,000 figure was in previous information from CCE, but it was left out of the resolution.

    One of the CCE members spoke up and claimed that CCE has the figures for cost of the Energy Corp member. Well then, why didn’t Commission Moe, in concert with the CCE, include that number in the resolution? Or did CCE intend the amount be open-ended, in case they wanted the city to spend more money on their project?

    Postponing this resolution until we had some facts is a no-brainer. Would you go sign a contract to purchase goods or services without the purchase price clearly stated in the contract? That’s what Citizens for Clean Energy (CCE) was asking with this resolution. .

    Some of us in the public do feel the resolution should be tabled indefinitely. It has nothing to do with the number of tasks city staff can handle, your “walking and chewing gum at the same time” argument.

    If you had attended city commission meetings as I have for years, you would know that the city struggled and continues to struggle with budget. The city golf courses still are indebted to the city general fund, as admitted tonight, for close to one million dollars. It was at one time, if I remember correctly, close to 1.7 million. It also took many years to recover from the Electric City Power debacle and some would say the city still hasn’t fully recovered.

    There are many Great Falls citizens that feel city money is better spent for existing problems-homelessness, drug abuse, reducing crime, city water issues, etc. Security and shelter for Great Falls citizens is more important to many of us than an “energy response” which has limited impact. Again, what current problem for Great Falls does this energy response solve and what can this do that hasn’t already been implemented by city staff? If they can “walk and chew gum” as you state, then city staff should be able to implement energy saving measures along with their other duties.

    Someone tonight at the meeting mentioned needing this resolution and gave one reason as the forest fires in Glacier Park. I wanted to ask that person–how will this City of Great Falls resolution affect forest fires in Glacier Park? It borders on idiotic and is just another example of the flawed thinking behind the people that support this resolution.


  12. It was easily $12,000 worth of everyone’s valuable time. But yes it was hyperbole.

    In response to “My question for you is: Forming an ‘Energy Response Task Force’ and spending taxpayer money for an Energy Corp member to head it up solves what current problem for the city?”: Since you asked, at least one problem that would be addressed was mentioned by speakers several times -Identifying ways to save taxpayer money through energy efficiencies. Substantial money if the results in other cities was replicated.

    As was pointed out last night, the previous efficiency study in Great Falls was limited to just five city buildings or so, and from what I heard last night that’s already producing substantial savings. So study money previously spent was a success. If an additional CCE study can identify further energy savings on the same scope as was documented in the packet for Red Lodge alone, it will more than pay back the $12,000 and also be a success. I don’t see how any taxpayer can be opposed to the City spending less money in the long run, year after year.

    The presentation made it pretty clear that CCE and their program has identified areas of savings that other cities’ staffs had apparently not realized on their own as part of their regular duties. This would be a study like any other the City contracts, where outside expertise the City lacks is brought to bear on a problem.

    But there was nothing wrong with the decision to table for one month to get additional information. The Council should see the MOU and an estimate of any additional costs.

    As for all the back and forth about climate change and what causes it and what could mitigate it, I’m not going there. However, I believe the Council previously took a vote to prioritize action on the climate change issue which, if what I read here is correct, passed, and portions of this CCE proposal appear to be part and parcel of that policy path.

    FYI the real reason I attended was to learn why the City is still setting golf course rates when operation of the courses has been contracted out. That question was answered.


  13. My apology for mis-remembering something Mr. Tryon wrote previously on this site.

    What he said in his piece about Commission priorities was, “For instance, at a recent Great Falls City Commission visioning session to lay out potential priorities for the coming year, a few of my colleagues on the commission identified “responding to climate change” as one of our top-three priorities.”

    It was apparently not a formal vote on priorities like I thought.


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