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Entries in City of Missoula (7)


Missoula taxes will rise again under Engen's new budget

Engen's budget would hike property taxes 3.8% (MISSOULA)- Missoula residents already complaining about skyrocketing taxes will need to brace themselves for another hit.

The Missoula city council is considering a new budget that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars more in new tax hikes, which Missoula Mayor John Engen says would pay for "organizational excellence", enhanced "economic growth and sustainability" and "infrastructure and assets." 

Engen's budget recommends increases of 3.87%, totaling over $232,000 from property taxes. That works out to an additional $28 per year on a home valued at $250,000. Overall, Engen is recommending over $1.2 million in increases to the city's "baseline budget" paying for everything from street projects to "community service specialists" in the police department. 

Engen says city departments actually pitched over $6-million worth of new budget requests, which would have required an 18% hike in taxes. 

The city council will hold a public hearing July 17th on the budget and included tax increases. 


"Disco BloodBath" called off in Missoula

BFK Productions logo(MISSOULA)- It looks like organizers of the "Disco Bloodbath" are canceling plans for the annual Halloween party, citing a lack of city support. 

Now in its' 5th year, the "Bloodbath" has both its fans, and its detractors, who have been critical of the event being the scene of drug use and other illegal activity in past years. Thousands of people have shown up at the past parties, and while the vast majority haven't caused problems, law enforcement has made arrests of people coming and going in the past. 

Tuesday afternoon, the promoters, BFK productions of Missoula posted on their Facebook page that this year's event was being canceled because the City of Missoula had withdrawn its support for the party. The statement implied city officials had wanted some changes in the event that the promoters couldn't agree to without "fundamentally altering the Disco Bloodbath experience."

BFK had changed its plans to use a 30,000 square foot warehouse close to downtown Missoula in hopes of allowing party goers to use shuttles, ride bikes or walk to the event, thereby alleviating some of the concerns about impaired driving. 


Portions of Mount Jumbo re-open after winter closure

(MISSOULA)- It's a sure sign of spring. Part of Mount Jumbo is re-opening to public access this weekend as the closure to protect wintering elk and mule deer comes to an end. 

Every year the City of Missoula closes the popular trails on much of the mountain so that the deer and elk herds can remain undisturbed when winter snows drive them out of the higher elevations. The closure starts at Saddle Point Road and includes all points south of the road. The South Zone includes the Backbone Trail and the trails near the "L".

Hikers and cyclists are still reminded to stay on trails, keep their dogs under strict voice control and remove all pet waste. Mutt mitts and loaner leashes are available at the trailheads. 

Even with the opening, the city says hikers should still be prepared to walk through mud and ice on the trails, rather than making damage by walking off-trail, which causes erosion and damages wildflowers and native grass. 

North Jumbo areas, which includes all the are north of Saddle road will remained closed until May 1st to protecting elk calving areas. 

Three areas of Mount Jumbo are open all year: the U.S. West road above I-90, the trail to the “L,” and the road linking Upper Lincoln Hills Drive with Tamarack, including about 40 acres below. Dogs must be leashed on the “L” trail and U.S. West easement during the winter closure. Violations of the Mount Jumbo winter closure are punishable by fine. Please call 911 to report closure violations.


Missoula looking into faster Internet "on-ramp"

(MISSOULA)- The Missoula city council is ready to launch its own study into the demand for a high-speed "GigaPOP" connection to the region's Internet backbone, checking to see if the project is feasible, and could drive the city's future economic development. 

The council's Economic Development Subcommittee has been discussing the next steps after a technology study last fall identified better access to fiber optic lines as one of the key things local businesses would like to see to help future development. 

The panel has already talked with local telecommunications companies, and now is recommending the council start the process of doing a deeper check on how to connect to the Internet backbones already traveling through Montana. In effect that would give the city a better "on ramp" to those faster "pipes".

"The Missoula Economic Partnership, or MEP, has established some key industries that are a best fit for Missoula. And almost all of those have some sort of technology interface and several of them would absolutely benefit from having a GigaPOP here," says committee chair Caitlin Copple. "So I feel it's just what Missoula needs in order to make sure that we're really on the cutting edge." 

The council has approved a contract with the Bitter Root Economic Development District to write an application for a $25,000 Big Sky Trust Fund grant to pay for the "GigaPOP" study. 


Missoula amends air quality rules

(MISSOULA)- Missoula leaders are pressing ahead with changes to the joint city-county air quality program, despite some concerns over how the new rules will impact groups who want to light bonfires for community events. 

The changes were part of several amendments approved after a joint hearing by the Missoula City Council and Missoula County commissioners on Monday evening. 

Among the amendments receiving the most discussion by the two panels was new language making in clear that a "bonfire" is generally "larger than two feet in diameter" being used by a school, non-profit group, church or other group during an organized event that would need a permit. The standards also specify what can be burned in a bonfire

The current rules have been unchanged for about 20-years. 

But some of the council members and at least one of the commissioners were worried about how the new rules would impact residents outside the city. 

County Commissioner Michele Landquist said she was concerned the rules would be "problematic" for people living outside Missoula, saying she worried about "county folks being treated like city folks", wondering whether there should be different standards. Councilman Adam Hertz also wondered how bonfire rules in Missoula would be enforced in outlying areas like Seeley Lake. 

However, staff explained the amendments could only be approved, or voted down as a package. The city council voted to approve the new rules 9-to-2, while the commissioners approved the changes on a 2-to-1 vote. The proposals now go to the state for approval. 

Other changes include a more consistent labeling of wood stoves to make it clearer where different devices may be installed in the county. The amendments also clarify that health advisories, instead of regulatory shutdowns geared to industrial air pollution, will be called during episodes of thick wildfire smoke.