Are there ways to improve pothole and snowplowing issues without ballooning the city budget?
We need to get back to the basics. I've outlined ways to address the budget below, which, if implemented, would provide some additional funds without expanding the budget.
Along with the increased property taxes over the years, we seem to be seeing a decrease in the reliability of our bread-and-butter services including snow removal, pothole repairs, street repairs and open space maintenance. We need to pay more attention to infrastructure and invest in it at the right time.
I think our streets and parks employees are working hard, but with limited resources and we need to ensure the basic needs of the Missoula citizens are being met. A solid contingency fund could allow for emergency staffing and equipment usage but we wouldn’t use it unless we needed it, ensuring it was available during unexpected times.
Personally, I live one block off a main artery and my roads went unplowed for two 10-day stretches. This led to my son’s car being hit and run, which in addition to the tax increases, forced me to come up with a $1,000 deductible to fix his car, which should not have happened if the roads had been plowed in a timely manner.
Interestingly, citizens are required to shovel their walks by 9 a.m. but the City currently takes up to 10 days to plow. Potholes can sneak up on you the same way and we need to make sure we are not causing major damage to our vehicles because we can’t get the job done.
Ultimately, we need to provide these simple services that we all pay for and it can be done in seasonal rotation as Missoula already does with many things.
I’m not just hearing these concerns from citizens on the campaign trail. The Neighborhood Council section of the city’s website lists citizens’ concerns at meetings. The bread-and-butter services are consistently listed every time: potholes, snow removal, weed/tree/shrub maintenance, water drainage, and curbs/sidewalks — just to name a few.