State of Billings and Yellowstone County - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

State of Billings and Yellowstone County

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BILLINGS -

The Billings Chamber of Commerce brings business leaders and community members together to talk about the state of the city and county, and how it affects them.

At that meeting, Mayor Tom Hanel and Commissioner Jim Reno gave their perspectives on the growth happening in the city and county.

City and county leaders say 2013 was a great year filled with growth. And they expect the community to continue to grow.

"The growth has certainly been a beneficial factor and of course the positive attitude, the enthusiasm and so forth in Billings," Mayor Hanel said. "But I've always said and will continue to say, being former law enforcement, personal safety is very much a concern to me of the citizens. And I am concerned that we are experiencing a higher volume of calls."

Hanel and Reno are concerned about the increase in crime. Mayor Hanel says the city is exploring a public safety levy to accommodate the increase in expenses in Police and Fire Departments. Billings Chamber of Commerce president John Brewer says knowing about current issues is important for business owners.

"Whether that's the direction of MetraPark, and how we are pursuing the increase in entertainment in this community and what that means to business, to tax increases and what that means to a business owner," Brewer said. "So it's important for our business community to connect to our leadership and help them plan and understand and ask questions about our future and how that impacts a business."

Reno and Hanel also mentioned the increase in land development and new businesses in town, which shows economic vitality.

"Billings is a great place to live," Hanel said. "It's a great place to retire. It's a great place to do business, to play. It simply comes down to a quality of life and the wonderful people that live here. It's a fantastic place."

They say the city and county will work together to continue improving the quality of life.

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