Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Mark Hebert
Publisher 

Mail ballot primary election June 2

 


Among the ballot items voters in Phillips County are asked to decide on in this year's primary election, three levies are being proposed by the Phillips County Commissioners; A County Road Levy, County General Levy, and a County Bridge Levy. All active voters receiving a ballot in rural areas of Phillips County will vote on all County levy issues. All active voters receiving a ballot in the City of Malta, Town of Dodson, and Town of Saco will vote on the County General Levy and County Bridge Levy.

The Phillips County Commissioners gave their reasons for increasing the mills for general, road, and bridge funds and they are:

The main reason is the loss of non-tax revenue the county receives. This revenue comes from natural gas production tax which is a 9% tax on all gas produced in Phillips County. From early 2000 to 2010, the price of gas was fairly high from $6.00 to $10.00 a thousand and the county received from $300,000 to $400,000 quarterly. This money was used to support about 30% of the budget and the rest was placed in reserve funds. Since 2010, the production revenue has declined about 90%. We have been using reserve dollars since then to balance the budgets.

To help conserve on salary budgets, the county has not hired back some employees that have retired or moved to other employment.

As we all know costs have been going up and health insurance is a big expense to the county. In 2001, the Montana Legislature passed a bill allowing counties to assess a permissive medical levy for the increase to employee health insurance. At that time, the Commissioners felt the county was receiving enough revenue from natural gas production tax assessing this levy was not necessary. Now our reserve funds are depleted and our revenue is down. In order to maintain our current county services and employees, we are asking the community to pass these levies.

If voters have questions about the proposed levies, they are encouraged to contact the Commissioners at 654-2429 or come to the office to obtain more information.

Phillips County Clerk and Recorder told the PCN that the Phillips County Election Office has mailed out 2,438 ballots for the upcoming Federal Primary Election to be held on June 2.

A notice from her office states “On Thursday, May 7, 2020, the Phillips County Election Office mailed out ballots. This is a mail ballot election, there will be no polling place open for this election. All active registered voters in Phillips County will receive a ballot by mail. This was decided in order to allow all eligible Phillips County residents to vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Governor Bullock’s directive, return postage has been provided on all return Affirmation envelopes. If you did not receive a ballot, please contact the Phillips County Election Office to update your voter registration at 406-654-2423.

Another new change this election cycle, per SB 101 passed by the Montana Legislature, it is no longer necessary to return your UNVOTED ballots. Please return only your voted ballot in the blue secrecy envelope and discard your unvoted ballots per the instructions enclosed in your voting packet.”

Election results for this year’s primary election will be posted on the PCN website as soon as they are available and in the PCN print edition on Wednesday, June 10.

 

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