Long-time readers will remember that I wrote about this way back in 2014.
But be careful of what you wish for, because it always has its costs.
Today we’ll get into those costs, which you can find on the Missoula city budget site. This is what it looks like:
- FY22 Attorney 2 Legal Assistant - Civil
- FY22 Attorney 1 Victim Witness Coordinator
- FY22 Municipal Court 4 COVID Supplies
- FY22 Municipal Court 3 Jury Trial Recording Services
- FY22 Municipal Court 2 Third Court and Staffing
- FY22 Municipal Court 1 Courtroom Integrated Audio and Display Systems
- FY22 MRA CIP3 URD II Water Network Program
- FY22 MRA CIP2 URD III Sidewalk Program
- FY22 MRA CIP1 URD II Sidewalk Program
- FY22 MPC CIP2 Mobile License Plate Recognition Hardware
- FY22 MPC CIP1 Verizon Modems for Kiosks
- FY22 MPC 1 Baseline Adjustements
- FY22 Attorney CIP1 Case Management Database
- FY22 Attorney 4 Baseline Adjustments
- FY22 Attorney 3 MC Community Justice Dept
As you can see, there are 15 separate budget requests this week. Seven of them are directly related to our courts. Three are tied to the MRA, and three are tied to the parking commission.
What do they want, and how much does it cost? Let’s find out.
The first item is to hire a new attorney assistant, to help with civil suits. This person will get paid $41,000 a year, though it’ll also cost the city an extra $19,000 in “fringe” benefits. All told, we need $64,000 to get this new position filled.
Personally, I think if someone wants to file a civil suit, they can pay for that. If their lawyers need help, they can pay for that.
Right now we’re set to piss away $64,000 a year...and for what? So some fancy-pants lawyer can make bank off the city? Fuck that.
The next item is a victim witness coordinator. This position costs just $2,500 a year, a far cry from what the civil department wants.
The courts want over $4,000 for “Covid supplies,” whatever that means. Actually, they tell us - it’s all going to buy disposable face masks.
Remember, this is the eco-friendly town of Missoula, where we love to pound our chests and pronounce how much we love the environment.
Talks is cheap. Over 1.5 billion face masks have entered our oceans since 2020.
Missoula will continue to beat the drum, pretending they care about the environment. Just follow the money; you’ll see this isn’t true at all.
$4,000 might not seem like a lot, but it adds up. What’s amazing is that we could save 100% of this money by simply putting up a sign on the door saying, wear your own mask.
So simple, so easy, so common-sense. That’s why you know our city won’t do it.
The city wants to spend nearly $11,000 to record all the audio from trials so juries can hear it. The reason for this is our silly courts think juries need to be socially distanced. This might mean they have to be in separate rooms, so we need to record what’s happening in one room and play it in another.
I know, you can’t fix stupid.
In this case, we’re not even going to point out how silly this idea is. Instead we’ll just piss $11,000 right down the drain.
The Third Court
Finally, some meat and potatoes. As I mentioned, Missoula will get some new courts this year.
The new judge will make $82,000 a year, with “fringe” payments of nearly $20,000 on top of it. The rest of the huge amount is mainly paper-shuffling stuff.
What is PRO? Because the budget request doesn’t even tell us, it just assumes we know.
Whatever it is, it’ll cost us $12,000 a year.
URD II Water
Ah, another urban renewal district. You might remember how I told you a few weeks ago that all our URD’s combined have a budget deficit of $6 million a year.
These things are a waste of money. Maybe one day they helped us, but now they don’t. Now they hurt us.
The goal of this budget item is to reduce blight.
The cost? $620,000.
The reason? To complete the build-out of URD II before it expires.
Imagine all the bureaucrats that would lose-out if this expired before the funding was secured. Imagine all the property taxpayers that would benefit if we let it expire.
URD III Sidewalks
This will set us back $605,000.
This is MRA funds, the city’s unaccountable slush fund.
Over the past 12 years, the MRA has spent $5.8 million to build 11.2 miles of sidewalk in this town.
That comes out to $517,000 a mile.
I’m sorry, but I feel we’re being ripped-off, big time.
Again, the MRA desperately wants this money now because the URD is going to sunset.
URD II Sidewalks
Pretty much the same story as the last one, but at a cost of $785,000 this time.
Over the past 12 years, the city has spent $4 million to build 4.7 miles of sidewalk in this district, or nearly $1 million a mile.
Parking Commision Vehicles
To help take more of your money, the city charges you to park downtown.
To help with this endeavor, the city needs a new vehicle, which will cost you $62,000 this year.
Parking Commission Meters
The city wants to help AT&T transition from 3G to 5G. To do this, the city needs to update the modems on their ‘new’ downtown parking meters.
The cost? Nearly $79,000.
I think a better option would be to rip these parking meters out and throw them in the dump.
$3,100 is needed to correct the budget.
I Have No Idea
C1P1 case management database.
That’s the only description we get for the $144,000 in this budget request item.
Personally, I’d give ‘em a big ‘fuck you’ on this one. If you won’t even take the time to write a description of what the money is needed for, why should we give it to you?
This’ll cost us $12,000. Again, I have no idea what it is, and the department didn’t care enough to tell us in their budget request.
Why? Because they feel entitled to the money.
The Missoula County Justice Department staff want to be paid more.
So we’ll throw another $8,100 their way this year.
When was the last time you got a pay raise?