Late Tuesday - the same day the new county-sponsored homeless camp was set to open outside Missoula - the heavy hand of the governor came down.
The cities and counties were expecting to get $100 million to play around with for the month of December.
Now they’ll only get $10 million.
Bullock got pissed that the local governments were mostly using that money to pay government bureaucrat salaries.
Another huge red flag for the governor was the fact that these local governments were pissing away so much on “presumptively eligible” costs.
These are going to be things like Missoula purchasing the Sleepy Inn hotel to house the homeless, as well as any associated costs with this new homeless camp.
In fact, here in Missoula the local bureaucrats have burned through so much money on the presumption that FEMA will pay them back that an enterprising journalist could win an award if they somehow totaled it all up.
I don’t think there is an adequate accounting trail though, and perhaps suspecting legal problems down the road, Bullock nixed whatever money might further feed into that spurious cauldron of local greed.
This totally changed the plans for the new homeless camp, pushing the opening back from December 1 to December 7.
The big reason? Money.
Right now the camp cost $100,000 to set up, and they’re not even done installing the showers and laundry. Food and water have also yet to arrive.
Most of the $100,000 “is coming from state and federal COVID-19 mitigation funds. No local property taxes will be used.”
Well, not yet.
We saw today that the governor is limiting what those funds can be used for.
How will this affect the new homeless camp, that’s already seen one delay?
Who knows, but I think they’re gonna be real short on operating costs very soon.
Our county commissioners couldn’t be more offended by this, or at what Bullock did to them.
“I think there is frustration across the state from local governments, in that we’d been working under a certain set of assumptions for quite some time and, on a dime, to make a course-correction here is not easy.”
That’s Dave Strohmaier.
Yeah, I bet there’s frustration.
$100 million divided by 56 counties comes out to about $1.8 million each. Now that number is $179,000.
Oh, I’m sure not every county is getting that exact amount. Larger counties like Missoula probably get more.
Imagine thinking you’re gonna get $2 million and then you get $200,000 instead? Wow, talk about a lump of coal right before Christmas!
Now Strohmaier knows that the bill is gonna come due for all the want-list items he’s rung-up and the only way he can pay it is the Biden administration bails him out. Gianforte’s not gonna help him. His only other option is raising taxes or getting Engen to help him raid the $20 to $30 million the MRA still has.
Come January, liberal counties with years of spending problems under their belt are going to have some tough choices to make.
All of the CARES Act money will be gone by then.
What are counties going to do? What are cities going to do?
Do you think there’ll be an appetite to raise taxes among a voting population that’s seen their small businesses ruined, thousands of families in the community out of work?
And for what...so we can used taxpayer money to set up a homeless camp that has free food and laundry and even showers?
Most of us pay so much for that stuff that we can barely afford anything else. How do you think voters are going to react to this dichotomy?
These elected officials don’t have any other ideas, however. I think a lot will simply hang it up, going back to the private sector, leaving someone else with the problems.