The Glacier County Commissioners voided the Public Safety Mill Levy Ballot Issue on the Primary Election ballot during their meeting on Monday, May 18. They also voted to put the issue before voters in the November General Election.
When the primary ballots were printed, the language for the EMS Operating Mill Levy was mistakenly submitted under both the EMS ballot issue and the Public Safety ballot issue.
The Commissioners were first informed of the ballot error on May 11, 2020.
According to County Attorney Terryl Matt, “Montana law requires ballots to be mailed no later than the 15th day and no sooner than the 20th day before an election (§ 13-19-207, MCA). Given that the election is set for June 2, 2020, there is not enough time for the county to obtain new ballots and get them mailed within the statutory timeframe.”
County officials publicly addressed the issue initially at their meeting on Thursday, May 14. Following the meeting they issued a press release over the weekend to inform the public of the error.
Clerk and Recorder Mandi Kennerly explained her office staff mistakenly sent the EMS ballot issue language to the printing company, rather than the public safety language that had been approved by the Commissioners. As a result, the ballot for the Public Safety Mill Levy Issue is incorrect.
After discussion last week, the Commissioners, in consultation with Matt and Kennerly, decided the best option for proceeding was to void the Public Safety Mill Levy Resolution passed in March and approve a new resolution putting the matter before the voters in November.
The Glacier County Commissioners approved putting three ballot issues on the primary ballot earlier this spring:
•EMS Operating Mill Levy for an additional $1 million for two years.
•EMS Ambulance Building Mill Levy in the amount of $327,807 for five years.
•Public Safety (Glacier County Sheriff’s Office) Operating Mill Levy for an additional $908,089. This would be a perpetual levy.
When the votes are tallied, only the votes on the EMS ballot issues will be counted.
According to the press release, “The Commissioners feel these are very important mill levies and it is unfortunate that one is incorrect. These mill levies support two very important county services–EMS and public safety. The Commissioners asked the Glacier County taxpayers for an increase through a mill levy for EMS for the first time in 2019. This is only the second time in 16 years the taxpayers are asked to support these services.”
The Commissioners also voted to reopen most of the Glacier County buildings and offices, beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20. All branches of the Glacier County library and the museum will remain closed. The reopening of county facilities will follow the reopening guidelines of the State of Montana.