Public Safety Levy on the ballot - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Public Safety Levy on the ballot

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Ballots for the municipal election in Yellowstone County went out Wednesday morning.

One of the items on the ballot is a proposed Public Safety Mill Levy.

The proposed levy is needed to raise $2.7 million, which will support the expansion of the District Attorney's office.

Voters will have the chance to do more than select who will make up the City Council. They are asked to support an effort to combat crime in Yellowstone County.

"I'm trying to do this job the right way," District Attorney Scott Twito said. "It's their office. I'm trying to do what they elected me to do. And I feel I would almost be neglectful if I didn't ask for these things and I did I requested them in this last budgetary cycle because they were needed."

Twito explained that his office needs a boost in funding to support a growing community. His office continues to operate on a funding allocation set 17 years ago.

At the time Yellowstone County's population was much smaller and since then the population has swelled adding 30,000 more people. That means more crimes are being committed.

Drug cases involving methamphetamines have exploded in just the last six years with case filings growing from 124 to 531. Cases involving mental disorders are up 350 percent.

The District Attorney's office is also having to navigate changes in the law with how they work with crime victims while also operating with fewer state dollars.      

Twito says when you add it all up you have an overextended prosecutors office.

If the levy passes, it would add $21.60 to property taxes on a $200,000 home.

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