Editors note – last month we asked each of the six candidates running for the Great Falls city commission to submit answers to three specific questions. We will be publishing the answers from the candidates who responded, in the order we received the responses, exactly as submitted and without editorial comment, starting today.
What do you consider to be the most important issue for Great Falls right now and if elected how would you respond to it. Please be as specific as possible by describing why you consider the issue to be the most important and the action you feel is necessary to address it?
One of the important issues Great Falls is facing, is the priority of Public safety.
Crime in Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls violent crime is 21.8. (The US average is 22.7)
Great Falls property crime is 65.2. (The US average is 35.4)
Statistics from https://www.bestplaces.net/crime/city/montana/great_falls
Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims.
Great Falls Police Department needs more officers on Patrol.
There are approximately 6 officers on a shift. This number goes down due to vacations or sick calls. With the high call volume they deal with, it is extremely hard for them to be expected to randomly patrol areas to deter crime or actively stop it while it is occurring. To better serve the community there should be at least 8 officers on patrol per shift.
I feel this has to become a priority when doing the yearly budget. If the City Commissioners could meet ahead of the timeline for the budget and decide on what is most important, and plan a 5 year or more commitment to add 1 or 2 officers each year. By doing this, it allows the City Manager to know what is expected prior to putting the budget together.
I don’t like the idea of citizens voting on a safety levy. We should be voting on recreational such as parks, pools, how many trees that need to be planted or what graphics to put on a water tower ect…
Safety with in our city is a right not an option!
Do you or any of your immediate family members, business partners, employer, or employees hold any positions, professional or volunteer, recent past or present, that would constitute a conflict of interest, or appearance thereof, for you while conducting city business as a commissioner? If so how would you deal with the potential conflict?
I have no potential conflicts of interest as a City Commissioner. In light of this if it were to come up, I would be honest beforehand, follow protocol and recuse myself.
Do you consider the current relationship between the city commission and the citizens of Great Falls to reflect an adequate level of mutual trust, respect and engagement and how would you improve that relationship?
I don’t feel the current relationship between the citizens and City Commissioners is a positive one. Due to the past actions of closed door meetings, lying, taking funds for personal gains and lack of transparency. As a citizen of Great Falls I know our needs and desires are at the very bottom of the spectrum.
Our city government needs to realize they work for the citizens. The only way to make a change is to vote. Vote for two candidates that have no personal agenda! Candidates that will put citizens first! We have to make a change with in our City Commission to see a positive change for Great Falls.