This is getting back to that $42 million boondoggle that the city and county foisted upon us back in November 2014.
Oh, you can say that 51% or so of the people voted for it, but to me, the damn thing should never have been considered for the ballot in the first place.
What the hell were these bureaucrats thinking?
I told you in October 2014 that just $4 million of that $42 million was going to city park upgrades and trails, while $38 million was going for the huge Fort Missoula Regional Sports Complex.
At the time we even knew how bad a decision it’d be:
- Maintenance Costs: $429,000 a year;
- Park Expenditures: $318,187 a year.
That total cost of having this Fort Missoula Regional Park is $747,187 a year. The park is expected to bring in $368,067 a year.
That's right, it’s losing money.
Taxpayers have to step in each year and provide $379,120.
So expect to see another 5% tax increase in 2018, just like the 5% the mayor wants for 2017 and the 4.7% he wanted in 2016 and the 2.9% he wanted in 2015 and the 2.7% he wanted in 2014.
So for those 4 years the City of Missoula’s taxes have gone up 15.3%...wow!
Am I the only one seeing a problem here?
We already discussed last month how the city is $88 million in debt and is spending $11 million more next year than it expects to bring in.
So we have no money and have to keep asking for more. That’s what the Missoula Current article was about – the head of the Parks Department, Donna Gaukler, groveling for more money.
They need $350,000 to cover all the money they failed to bring in with revenues, and what’s especially galling is that the mayor seems clueless about this.
Hey, Engen – we told you a year and a half ago that the park would be $368,000 in the red each year.
Why in God’s name, therefore, are you budgeting just $182,000 to the Parks Department for this boondoggle out by Fort Missoula?
Engen didn’t seem to know where the additional $143,000 was at...even though we knew we'd need it nearly 2 years ago!
What he did do was have one of his city cronies, Dale Bickell, make it clear to the Parks Department that they’ll have to reallocate their resources to make up that money.
Well, isn’t that nice of Mayor Engen – he knew about this huge budget shortfall back in 2014, failed to account for it, then hides in shame and has some unelected bureaucrat break the bad news.
What a guy…what a guy.
Effectively in Missoula we voted to increase our parkland by 27% but we then failed to fund it, even though we knew we’d need to.
This is the kind of mentality that’s driving Missoula into the ground.
Why do we put up with it?
Missoula’s next mayor election isn’t until November 2017, with a primary a bit earlier.
The only person that’s expressed a willingness to run is Harlan Wells, who has a helluva time even showing up to City Council meetings now…even though he’s being paid to!
I know some others will run against Engen should our current mayor decide to go for a fourth term.
Let’s hope he doesn’t.
The city is in dire financial straights and that shows no sign of letting up.
Taxes continue to go up and up and there is little to show for this.
Roads are in disrepair, rents are going up, and those on fixed incomes are feeling pinched.
The city continues to tout development as the key to all it’s problems, but that’s not solving the massive amount of red ink on the city’s books or the budget deficits it runs up each year.
I don’t think the mayor or the City Council know what to do about this, and I don’t even think they view it as a problem.
They’ll keep getting paid, and they’ll keep getting their benefits packages. It’s not their money they’re playing around with, so what does it matter?
That’s the mentality Missoula is under, and the city will continue to flounder economically until it begins to take a hard look at itself.
Things are not working. Something must be done.