HELENA — Curt Dallas is running for the non-partisan Lewis and Clark County Commission District 3 seat. District 3 includes the west side of Helena, the North Valley and areas like Lincoln, Canyon Creek and Rimini.
Dallas works for The Montana Department of Transportation and has been in real estate for 30 years.
Dallas said he wants to see Lewis and Clark County’s diversity of interests better represented in county government, he wants to see the county address roads and infrastructure—specifically bridges with load limits that don’t allow emergency response vehicles to pass over them—and he would like to see the county commission deal with land use issues so county residents can find housing and afford to live in the area.
Dallas said his passion for land use is what drove him to run for office.
What is your name, and seat you are running for?
My name is Curt Dallas, and I’m running for Lewis and Clark County Commission.
What is your occupation?
I work in the Department of Transportation as their relocation specialist—I move people when we have projects, and I’ve been in real estate for 30 years.
Why did you choose to run?
I was concerned about the zoning when it passed. I talked to several people, and—particularly out in the valley—the zoning is a big concern of the landowners out there. I thought about it, I thought I have a passion for land use and so I decided to run.
What are three key issues you believe need to be addressed by the county?
Number one, the diversity in the county. The needs between even the North Valley and the East Valley—their wants and wishes are different. To get even farther away, you’ve got people in Canyon Creek, Augusta, Lincoln, Craig, Wolf Creek, and concerns and issues in all of those areas are very different than what they are closer to home for us here in the valley.
What are your thoughts on zoning in Lewis and Clark County?
I’m not against zoning, but I think we went about this zoning document in the wrong way. It is a top-down document. I’ve talked to several people who were on the ZAP Committee who feel like their voices weren’t heard for their input into the zoning document. That is another one of the reasons that I ran.
What are your thoughts on property taxes in Lewis and Clark County?
Property taxes are a necessary evil. The services that the county provides need to be funded in some way. I don’t like paying my property tax, I’m sure you don’t, I mean they do nothing but seem to go up. If we’re going to cut property taxes, we need to find where some programs are going to be cut—every dollar is spoken for. I don’t want to see them go up by any means, but they are a necessary evil.
Is there anything else you want to say that we haven’t covered so far?
I want to go back to the three top reasons. We talked about the diversity. Roads and infrastructure in our county, roads are getting old. Now, our public works does a good job of taking care of our roads—the bigger issues is the bridges. We have several bridges in the county that have load limits on them that don’t provide adequate weight to get emergency services over, one in particular that I can think of right now is the bridge over Little Prickly Pear Creek. If there was a big fire to break out in Cellar Gulch or Lost Horse, the only way to get large emergency equipment in there is to go up to Marysville around the backside of the ski hill and down. By the time we could get equipment there, if it was a big fire, it would be gone. The biggest reason we’ve talked about already, it’s the land use issues in the valley. We need to provide affordable housing. My concern isn’t for me, my concern is for your and my kids and grandkids—is there going to be an affordable place for them to live in Helena, Montana, if they wanted to stay here? Or are they going to have to go somewhere else? So affordable housing, that ties right with the land use, that is my biggest thing that I’m running on.