First let me start by saying that error will be made in the statements made below, but the intent of my post is to continue a discussion on a very heated topic going on in our... well I guess I can't say city so lets go with community.
Annexation has become a very well talked about subject over the last month and it has been interesting to listen to everyone's side, and as you listen both side have made very good and very poor points for and against annexation. It seems as though it all being said it comes down to taxes. I live with in the city limits and our family has discussed the issues of where to live, both in regards to schools, neighborhoods, water, sewer, gas and electric. Because I like all of those things we have chose to live within the city. As the discussion on annexation has progressed I have realized there are other things that I have in town that are important, and one of the big things everyone continues to ask is what do I get if I am annexed into Miles City. Most likely truth be told there will be no great change or revelation made if areas surrounding Miles City are annexed into the city, but I do ask what services do you already use that you will continue to use that are paid for with city taxes and with extra help may we can provide better services.
The biggest item that comes to my mind in regards to our city is our youth, and almost all of us that have kids, grand kids, nieces, and nephews or have ourselves grown up in this community. Our city provides the services to our parks, and by parks and I don't just mean Wibaux and Riverside Park but they are included. I also mean our soccer, baseball, softball, football fields are also parks in which almost all of our kids at some point in there lives have enjoyed and our future generations will continue to enjoy. These fields provide the kids in our town the opportunity to learn team work, competition, and a space to enjoy our community. Without taxes and continued taxes we would not have as many opportunities. There has been talk of try to get a parks and recreation department, but I know as well as anyone that there is no way to fund one. Brady Stone and his guys along with the countless volunteers do a great job keeping our parks and our youth going. This is an example of one service the city provides there are many other services that our taxes provide for that we take for granted.
I do not feel that the approach for annexation is correct, but is there really any way to approach this issue that isn't going to cause blood to boil. I know that it get me a bit irritated when I hear one of my county commissioners say that is a city issue not a county issue. I do pay my county taxes and should be represented by my commissioners as well. I assume that my tax dollars go to fund the sheriffs department and the county fire department, but when you live in town and ask for assistance from the sheriffs department you are told you live in the city you need to call the city police. I also live in Custer County so why can't I expect help from Sheriffs department. I also doubt that if I have a fire in town that the county fire department will be dispatched to the fire. As a residence of Miles City should we protest our county taxes due to some of these issues, no I don't think we should. The commissioners where quoted in the paper as saying the residence of Miles City are not for annexation of the surrounding areas, in my conversations most of the people are in favor of it I just don't think their voices are as vocal.
Maybe this issue needs to extend past the annexation issue and into the area of combined city county government. I know when budgets are tight and your are in business one of the first things you have to cut is overhead, and in a county of 12,000 with one major city is it wise to have a police chief and a sheriff, two fire chiefs, ect ect. The issue of annexation goes well beyond water and sewer, it goes into everything our taxes provide. I dislike taxes as much as the next person, but if we do not pay taxes these service we take for granted will no longer be available to us.
I am sure that there will be a bashing as there always is on this forum, but I am neither at this point for or against annexation because I do not have enough knowledge yet to make an informed decisions all I know is I live in Miles City, Custer County, and Montana and am proud of all three of them.