Originally published in the 9/8/17 print edition of Yellowstone County News.
BILLINGS — Pointing out that Yellowstone County’s 2017-18 budget is only “sustainable” if the proposed Safety Mill Levy passes, County Commissioner Denis Pitman refused to second a motion to pass it. But, then he said he would vote for it, but he wants the public to understand that it may be necessary to develop a more austere budget if “things don’t turn out.”
County Commissioners went forward then, on Tuesday, to unanimously approve the county’s over $94 million budget for the coming year, following two public hearings, this week and last. The budget is a 6.3 percent increase over FY 2017’s budget.
Pitman warned that without the passing of the proposed Safety Mill Levy, they will reach a point between two and five years from now “where we are out of money.” The current budget, said Pitman, places the county in a “reactive” position, and he would rather that they be “pro-active.” He said he would be dedicating himself to getting the Safety Mill Levy passed.
Because of the tight budget, during last week’s hearing, Pitman proposed an amendment which would have set a new county policy to cease contributing funds to private non-profit organizations. And, also because, said Pitman, he has never been comfortable with donating taxpayer money to private organizations. His motion failed for the lack of a second.
The policy would have impacted the county’s PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) fund, which is money the federal government pays to the county in lieu of paying taxes on federal lands in the county. Pitman said he wanted PILT money to be used as a “rainy day” fund, but County Commissioner John Ostlund said that is essentially how it read more
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Originally published in the print edition of Yellowstone County News. BILLINGS — It’s not without its critics. The tax abatement program that Yellowstone County and the City of Billings use to incentivize business growth, expansion and recruitment is often viewed … read more
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by Evelyn Pyburn-Originally published in the Yellowstone County News 7/29/16 print edition. BILLINGS — Tuesday’s regular County Commissioners’ meeting was the last for Commissioner Bill Kennedy, who is retiring to take a position as head of the MSU Billings Foundation. … read more
Originally published in the Yellowstone County News print edition of 4/1/16. BILLINGS — In a split vote, Yellowstone County Commissioners have approved a highly controversial zone change request – one that will allow a 50-year old family-owned helicopter business in Yellowstone … read more
Originally published in the Yellowstone County News print edition on 4/1/16. BILLINGS — A relatively simply action to approve a $3,000 change order erupted into a heated discussion among Yellowstone County Commissioners on Tuesday. Commissioner Bill Kennedy was opposed to approving … read more