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Two ballot issues set for Nov. 2 | The Livingston Enterprise

The railroad underpass/overpass idea has been floated for years – the north side of town continues to grow and traffic issues will increase.

Two ballot issues set for Nov. 2
Published on Thu, 08/05/2021 By Lydia Ely – Enterprise Staff Writer

Two historically controversial issues — funding a railroad crossing and changing Livingston’s governmental system — will appear on the November ballot after being approved Tuesday by the Livingston City Commission.Commissioners advanced the two measures on a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Melissa Nootz was absent.

Voters will decide on the Nov. 2 ballot whether to support a $20 million bond that will be used to fund a separated grade railroad crossing. Where exactly this will happen is undecided, said City Manager Michael Kardoes.

If approved by voters, the city would take public comment and use the money for engineering studies, Kardoes said. Two people made public comment, one to ask about the location of the potential crossing, and one to voice support for an overpass at 5th Street. Some commissioners have said, in ongoing conversations about the matter, that an additional railroad crossing would be contradictory to the city’s growth policy but adopted it anyway during Tuesday’s meeting so that voters could make the final decision.

At the same Nov. 2 election, voters will also decide whether to change Livingston’s form of government. This vote received more enthusiasm from the commission, as well as one public comment in favor. If residents were to vote to approve this measure in November, Livingston would become a charter government rather than a general powers government, giving the city more ability to work outside of the set permissions of state law. Kardoes said most Montana cities follow the charter form of government, and cited Havre’s switch to a charter. Citing as an example of how the change could benefit Livingston, Kardoes said the change empowered Havre officials to fix its housing crisis.An ordinance that adds two seats — with preference to residents such as renters rather than property owners — to the Planning Board was approved.

Source: Two ballot issues set for Nov. 2 | The Livingston Enterprise