On the backside of the June 3, primary election ballot is the most important item on the ballot for citizens of Yellowstone County. The Referenda to Establish Yellowstone County Government Study Commission is an opportunity for those of us who live in Montana’s most populous county to speak up regarding the structure of our county government. If this ballot issue passes, members of the study commission will be elected in the November general election.
Many of us feel that our present structure is outdated, unfair and inadequate for the 21st century and that changes need to be made. Yellowstone County has 150,000 people and an annual budget of $40 million to $50 million yet is ruled by an elected board of only three people. That means that two constitute a quorum – if one person can persuade only one other, the whole county is subject to their decisions.
While state representatives represent about 10,000 people and senators about 20,000, our present county commissioners represent about 50,000 and are elected by all the voters in the county – not just those in the district they represent.
It is plain to many of us who live in the county but not in Billings that we have no one to advocate for our concerns and that much of the money we pay in taxes is not spent on our critical needs but elsewhere in the county. It’s not fair.
Vote “YES” on this issue.