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Entries in Missoula City Council (18)


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. 


No Missoula council incumbents in first days of filing 

Councilman Adam Hertz says he won't run for a second term(MONDAY)- There are still several weeks to go. But so far it's only political newcomers who are filing to run for Missoula City Council this fall. 

Six different council positions are up for re-election this year.

The list of incumbents includes council veterans Jason Weiner and Ed Childers, and first-term council members Adam Hertz, Alex Taft, and Mike O'Herron. The 6th seat was vacated when Caitlen Copple stepped down earlier this year. 

However, none of the incumbents had filed to run again through the first couple of weeks of filing. 

John Debari was the first to file for the Ward 4 position vacated by Copple. Appointee Patrick Weasel Head hadn't filed to run by mid-week. 

Heidi West has filed for the Ward 1 council seat currently held by Weiner. 

Anita Green has applied for the Ward 2 council race. Adam Hertz is saying he doesn't plan to seek a second term. 

Gwen Jones has filed for the Ward 3 race. That's the position held by Alex Taft.

No one had filed for the Ward 5 race, for the seat held by Ed Childers. 

Filing closes on July 2nd. 


Filing opens for Missoula city council races

(MISSOULA)- A small business owner and active volunteer is among the first to file for the upcoming Missoula City Council elections, with the filing period getting underway this morning. 

John Dibari filed his paperwork for the Ward 4 contest this morning. 

DiBari has lived in Missoula for 16-years, spread over two periods, in the late 1980s to mid-1990s, returning again in 2005. He runs a family business, Soft Hit, LLC, which specializes in selling baseballs, softballs and golf balls for sports training. 

DiBari has a long record of volunteer and civic service, having been on the Missoula Consolidated Planning Board for the past 7-years. He's also served on the Urban Growth Commission and the panel working on the city's growth policy update. 

DiBari will be competing for the Ward 4 position that was vacated earlier this year by the resignation of Caitlen Copple. Patrick Weasel Head was appointed to fill the remainder of that term until the next elections. 

Other incumbent council members who's seats are up for election this year include Jason Weiner, Adam Hertz, Alex Taft, Mike O'Herron, and Ed Childers. 

Filing closes on July 2nd. 


Missoula considers another extension for Hotel Fox project 

(MISSOULA)- Missoula leaders are being asked to extend developers another year to develop plans for the "Hotel Fox", a riverfront development first pitched to the city two years ago. 

A locally-based development group has been working on the idea of developing a 200-room hotel and conference center project on land known as the "Riverfront Triangle". The project has been called "Hotel Fox" because the site is the original location of the Fox Theater. The theater was torn down in the 1980s and the land has been in limbo ever since. 

The Missoula Redevelopment Agency has been working with the developers since late 2011 on the project, That hotel study was completed in 2012. Then Mayor John Engen asked the developers to work on a much larger scheme, including re-working of parking in the area in conjunction with St. Patrick Hospital. 

Last year the city council granted another one year extension as that parking analysis and meetings with St. Pat's continued. 

That time is now drawing to a close. But MRA staff are recommending the city give the developers one more extension, giving them until January 2015 to finish work on the larger concept for a regional conference center. MRA is recommending the city set a deadline of June 1st for the developers to begin a public input process for "progress, design and planning" along with updates to the city council.

Council committee members were discussing the request today and could pass the extension to the full city council for a vote next week. 


Missoula looks to beef up anti-panhandling laws

(MISSOULA)- The Missoula city council is looking at ways to make the city's laws against panhandling stronger, responding to continued concerns from downtown leaders about the on-going problems. 

The city has had panhandling laws on the books for twenty years, including the Solicitation and Aggressive Solicitation Act that were approved just four years ago. But business owners say the laws still need some fine tuning to make them more effective. 

The oldest of the two laws, the Pedestrian Interference Act was first enacted in 1993. It makes it unlawful for someone to "sit, lie or sleep on a sidewalk" within 12-feet of a business  entry, or obstruct people walking along the sidewalk, with some exceptions. Under the proposed changes, that would increase to a 20-foot limit, and expand the prohibition to any public right-of-way between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 at night. 

The Solicitation Act would also see a new 20-foot limit and ban soliciting in some specific places around the downtown. 

The City Council's Public Safety and Health Committee meets Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. to review the proposed changes, which are expected to draw support from downtown leaders. If the panel takes action, it would send the proposals to the full city council for consideration.