Belgrade is growing and the city is taking steps to try to grow with the population. This safety levy is just one of many that we’ll likely see coming down the pipe as the area adds new homes and people.
Voters approve safety mill levy
Michael Tucker, editor May 4, 2017
Belgrade voters resoundingly approved a safety mill levy that will add three more officers to the Belgrade Police Department along with the accouterments.
The vote was 987 for to 527 against, according to Gallatin County Records. Of the 1,514 cast votes, 65% supported the measure to 35% against the request.
“We want to thank the citizens of Belgrade for their trust and for seeing the fact that we are dealing with large growth, and the staff does work hard and needed help,” Belgrade Chief of Police E.J. Clark said.
The 68 mill levy will total $688,882 per year, according to city records. The approval will increase taxes by $91.80 for a home with a $100,000 taxable value. For a $200,000 taxable valued home, the annual total would be $183.60.
Homeowners were already paying $344,000 in taxes for a 2007 levy. The renewal levy will add another roughly $344,000 to the bill to hire three new officers – two patrol and one detective, Clark said. The renewed levy will not sunset like the 2007 vote.Calls for service are on a steady rise, which in turn limits officers ability to patrol the city. The detective workload is also increasing. Services would have diminished if the levy failed.
“We are, of course, very pleased to see voter support for the police department and for the services they provide,” City Manager Ted Barkley said. “Costs do increase faster than the tax base grows, so from time to time we need to ask taxpayers for the resources to keep up.”
The money will not appear on the tax rolls until next year, Clark said. In the meantime the police will look through candidates on the state list, reserve space at the academy and other police work.“Right now we have to start planning,” he said. “We have to get through this budget this year.”
With new hires in a year, the police will be able to meet the current demand, Barkley said.“We are committed to keeping Belgrade a safe place to live, work, and play, and this is a big step in the right direction,” Barkley said. “This support is yet another reason that I am thankful to be working for the Belgrade community.”