-          Taxes/TIF- As a homeowner, like many Missoulians I have watched my property taxes escalate in recent years quicker than ever before and I recognize that this is an issue we need to address.  As an educated candidate, I know that promising my constituents lower taxes by cutting extraneous spending from the budget is a false promise and will only result in the sacrifice of critical services for our most vulnerable populations for minuscule tax relief of a few dollars and cents.  I am committed to tax reform advocacy at our state level and the hope that one day we can enact a local option tax and give Missoula the opportunity to tax our ever-growing tourist population for the services of Missoula that they enjoy and give it back to our citizens in the form of significant reductions in their property taxes.  The economy of Montana is changing and we need to change our state policy in order to diversify our revenue streams. 

 

-          Housing- The recent housing policy developed by Eran Pehan and the MHCD is a great first step in trying to solve Missoula’s housing issues. In the current state, I support the housing policy in its entirety and believe the guiding principles used to develop the policy are sound. I acknowledge the policy is, at this moment, just a plan and the processes involved for operationalizing the policy may evolve over time. I am encouraged to see Missoula take action on housing and I look forward to the benefit it will bring to our community.  As a City Council, I anticipate creating a permanent funding mechanism for the housing policy will be the greatest challenge and believe the policy will lose support if it is pushed as a bond measure.  Therefore, it is of great importance that the city elect council members that can work with private and non-profit partners to find creative solutions to this issue and look for ways to use TIF funding to support this policy. 

 

-          Climate Change/Environmental Policies- Currently I believe the most pressing environmental issue facing Missoula is the Climate Crisis.  In Ward 5, increased forest fires and flooding are the two effects we will experience the most.  As a city, Missoula needs to be a part of the national and global solution and take measures to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to clean energy goals and waste reduction. As a City Council member, I intend to fully support Missoula’s Zero by Fifty goal as well as our target of carbon neutrality by 2025 and will assist in implementing any plans and strategies that will help us operationalize and achieve this objective. The city will need strong partnerships with private entities and leaders that are good at communicating and working with others to achieve a common aim. 

 

-          Communication- While the City of Missoula is already very transparent and information and data is available to anyone it is not easy to find. If elected, I commit to improving communication and ease of information access between the City Council and the citizens of Missoula through a variety of mediums.  There are simple and cost-effective ways for the City of Missoula to better communicate with Missoulians about how their tax dollars are being spent and foster opportunities for citizens to engage with their government and share opinions via social media, digital marketing, and good old-fashioned tabling. The City cannot achieve its more ambitious goals without the support of its citizens, and communication and information transparency will help us get there.