It was a disappointing night for Cut Bank Police Chief Mike Schultz who watched and listened for three hours as election workers tallied the votes in Tuesday’s special City election. Unofficially, the School Resource Officer (SRO) mill levy was defeated by 52 votes, 339-287. Passage of the $65,000 SRO mill ley would have guaranteed the continuation of a School Resource Officer in the Cut Bank Schools.
The SRO is an employee of the City of Cut Bank, not the school district, so only voters registered in the City of Cut Bank received the mail-in ballots.
If approved, the levy would have increased city taxes for the next 10 years by approximately $18.43 per year on a $50, 000 home; $36.87 per year on a $100,000 home; and $73.73 per year on a $200,000 home.
Schultz extended his thanks to voters who showed their support for the mill levy and to those businesses and individuals who helped educate the public on the issue. “With the high voter turnout, I am hopeful we can find a solution to keep the SRO in our school system,” said Schultz.
“The SRO is an integral part of the Cut Bank Police Department,” he continued, pointing out the SRO’s role is interacting, preventing and solving issues that occur not only in the school district but also in the community.
“We will continue to seek ways to fund this position and appreciate the help and support of those who see the value in having an SRO and continue to support the officers of the Cut Bank Police Department,” concluded Schultz.
A second issue on the ballot asked voters whether or not the City should “grant an exclusive franchise for natural gas service” to Cut Bank Gas Co. Unofficially, voters approved the franchise issue overwhelmingly, 467-143.
Voter turnout was 46%, with 633 ballots of the 1,372 issued “accepted” by election officials. A total of 124 ballots were undeliverable, one was rejected, one was voided and one was reissued. Of the ballots counted, seven voters didn’t vote on the SRO mill levy and 23 voters didn’t vote on the franchise agreement issue.
Glacier County election officials were very efficient and wrapped up counting the 633 ballots shortly before 10 p.m.