"I'm grateful to the people who voted yes." - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

"I'm grateful to the people who voted yes."

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

The Public Safety Mill Levy has passed with 51% to 48% of voters voting yes. According to Yellowstone County's website, the levy will raise 8 mills on all property in the county. It will raise an additional $2.7 million annually. The impact on a $100k home is $10.80, while the impact on a $200k home is $21.60.

Officials say there are multiple reasons the levy is needed. One reason is the explosion of meth in the community. A survey of felony cases in 2016 show that 426 cases involved methamphetamine in some way. The county's website says that number amounts to 32.2% of 1,324 felony cases filed last year. The County Attorney, Scott Twito, told KULR-8, "It really has been one of the big catalysts that has driven our numbers. And it is certainly something that is going to be a challenge moving forward."

After the levy passed, Twito said he's grateful for the people who voted yes, because he said, the levy will help sustain the county attorney's operations, "We've seen a dramatic increase in our numbers of the last 6 or 7 years and even before that. We were at the point where efficiencies weren't enough. We needed more people to put in those courtrooms, to file those documents, to get those kids out of abusive situations, to deal with the mental health commitments."

Twito said the two district judges who were added, were added by the state legislature. He stated that the county attorney's responsibility is to be in those courtrooms for criminal, abuse and mental health matters. "Adding two more judges just made the logistics that much more difficult. So, it was very important that the levy passed so we had enough attorneys and staff to cover those responsibilities that those district court judges will have."

Twito said he wants the people who voted "NO" on the levy to know that he will do the best he can to administer the money to run the services correctly. Twito explained, "This isn't going to be a spending frenzy or anything like that. We aren't going to add a bunch of things. This is really to sustain what we have." He said he's very grateful for the opportunity to run the office.

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