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City of Helena looks to add public safety staff and facilities

January 17th Meeting
Posted at 10:10 AM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 12:10:58-05

HELENA — Leaders from the Helena police and fire departments attended the Helena city administrative meeting on Wednesday night to look at improving their services, which could affect your taxes.

"Helena clearly continues to grow, and so that just stretches those emergency services really thin. I think they made a good case that the need exists," said Commissioner Sean Logan.

In 2012, Helena had a population of 28,200 people. In a little more than a decade, it has grown to over 34,600 people, an increase of more than 6,400 people.

Helena Growth

Logan said, "I think tonight's meeting, we got a pretty good financial picture of what we might be putting forward to the public, and they presented essentially three different tiers, they call them."

The city is considering adding fire and police personnel and possibly renovating Station 2 or constructing a third station to serve the city's north side.

Police Department Tiers
Fire Department Tiers

Operating levies could range from around $796,000 to up to $3.1 million for both police and fire staff, and according to city documents, that could raise property taxes on a home with a taxable value of 400,000 up to 170 dollars.

City leaders would have to put a bond before voters to pay for the improvement to Station 2 or the construction of a new station that could raise taxes on that same $400,000 home by another $30.

"Ultimately, we are putting this forward to the public for a vote, and if they approve it, it's going to be on their tax bills. And so, we've got to determine from the public what's their appetite for that," said Logan.

The commission will discuss this topic for a third time before making any decisions. It must be approved before March 11th to go on the June ballot.