Stuart has asked me to post this idea on my blog. I am very glad to do so.
These are my ideas for a new and better government. What do you think? Do
you have any suggestions for improvement?
“Greater Cascade” (Great Falls/Cascade County) a idea revisited whose time
has now come:
1. Combine city/county like Butte/Silverbow and call the new government
entity “Greater Cascade” and give it home rule powers.
2. Give Current County areas (as set forth herein) at least one extra
commissioner so that county residents know that their voices will be heard
and their interests protected.
3. Have commissioners elected by wards they represent. Commissioners would
be non partisan. Commissioners to be elected for 6 year terms (after first
election all commissioners would draw straws for length of first term 2, 4
or 6 years – thereafter approximately 1/3 of commissioners would be elected
every 2 years)
4. Every two years the commissioners would select one of their number to be
their spokesperson and the official representative of the government at
events/ official functions etc. The spokespersons can be chosen for
additional two year terms. Because of the additional time required as
official representative of the government. The spokesperson shall receive a
salary of one and 1/2 times the regular commissioner’s salary
5. suggested wards (could be more or less): 1. Riverview/Blackeagle/westside
(to 10th Avenue South); 2. Northside; 3. south side; 4. river road (south of
10th Ave S)/Palised heights/Wilson Butte road; 5. FoxFarm/Floodroad; 6.
Cascade/Ulm (east to current city limits); 7. Sunriver/Fairfield Bench; 8.
Vaughn/east to current city limits; 9. North from Sky-line Drive (and west
of Ft Benton hwy) to county Boarder; 10. Belt/Highwood west to current city
limits; 11. Monarch/Neihart/Sand Colley/Centerville west to current city
6. Pay all commissioners a reasonable part-time salary. The initial salary
of commissioners shall be determined by taking the current salaries of city
and county commissioners and the mayor adding them together and dividing by
the number of new commissioners.
7. Hire one professional manager for new government,
combine planning staffs; manager to hire new planning director and staff and
other government workers.
8. develop a new all-over growth policy plan for our new government and new
zoning and other regulations in line with the all-over plan to provide for
enforceable county-wide: ‘smart growth’; ‘economic development’; protection
and balancing of ‘private property rights’ with the public’s right and
obligation to provide ‘a clean and healthful environment’ as provided for in
the Montana State Constitution; designating and protecting open space,
farm/ranch land, natural areas, historic and cultural areas, rivers, streams
and their natural corridors.
1.Reduce costs (by efficiency, reduction of duplication, hire good
2.Make government more responsive to local concerns (each commissioner would
be account able to his neighbors from his ward for their cotes and not by a
county-wide vote which allows certain groups to control all positions).
3.Provide for smart planning to accommodate anticipated growth (to avoid
mistakes of other Counties - egg Gallatin County)
4. Develop countywide policies which will avoid uncertainties for developers
and land owners
5.Move forward countywide with Missouri/sun River Corridor plan
6. Provide for public power and conservation plans
7. Provide an inventive for our best people to get involved in government at
all levels because they will feel part of a winning team where their ideas
and efforts can make a difference
8. Stop the duplication and bickering between city and county government.
One notable example when the County approve the Urquhart zoning change,
Commissioner Briggs said: “the city has an industrial park, we want one
Disadvantages (raised by others):
1. Change is often disconcerting most often for those in power – ANSWER:
tough its time for a change
2. Ward bosses may develop and corruption follow - ANSWER: we will need to
fight this locally and be vigilant.
3. As we grow in numbers and increase regulations to provide for consensus
in how we manage our lives, we may wish to return to simpler days and equate
our new lives with loss of freedom. ANSWER: In actual fact we are probably
more free in a different sense.
4. We studied this 10 years ago and rejected it because unlike Silverbow
county which has only one town (Butte), we have many towns. ANSWER: Butte
always had Anaconda and poor planning in Gallatin County has allowed
Belgrade to be overwhelmed.
I SUGGEST WE WORK TO PUT THIS ON THE BALLOT COUNTYWIDE AS A REFERENDUM THIS
ELECTION, WITH A TIME TABLE FOR BEGINNING THE NEW GOVERNMENT (SAY ELECTION
OF COMMISSIONERS AND BEGINNING OF THE NEW GOVERNMENT DURING THE NEXT
ELECTION CYCLE.) WE DO NOT NEED A NEW STUDY COMMISSION WHICH CAN BE
CONTROLLED BY CURRENT POLITICAL FACTIONS TO WASTE TIME AND PREVENT CHANGE.
LET US SEE IF THE PEOPLE AGREE THAT THIS CHANGE WOULD BE ADVANTAGEOUS AND
I have always suspected that we duplicate many efforts between the city and the county; specifically in areas of public safety and transportation. I voted for the city/county consolidation referendum when it was on the ballot 10 (or was it 12) years ago, and still think it a good idea.
I don't know that we need a ward system, as Stuart suggests. However, if consolidation were to happen, we need to make sure the the interests of, say, Neihart, are represented as are those of the various neighborhoods of Great Falls.