Yellowstone County

County commissioners will ask voters to OK 8-mill levy

Originally published in the 8/4/17 print edition of Yellowstone County News.

BILLINGS — In a unanimous vote, Yellowstone County Commissioners approved a resolution calling for an increase in the Public Safety Mill Levy of 8 mills to be put before the voters on Nov. 7.

County Attorney Scott Twito, whose office will primarily benefit from the additional revenue, made the request of the county commissioners, saying “This is difficult for me.” But, he said, the burden being faced by his office and the continuing increase in felony crimes “hits a lot of area of the office.”

The number of felony cases has

County considers weekly newspapers as option for legal ads

Originally published in the 7/28/17 print edition of Yellowstone County News.

BILLINGS — County officials are mulling over whether they want to change the publication designated as the official publisher of legal notices for Yellowstone County.
It’s been about three years since County Commissioners designated the Billings Gazette as their publisher of legal notices.
Raising the question last week was Jonathan McNiven, publisher of the Yellowstone County News. In a discussion

Guest Editorial: Tester’s Hypocrisy on Dark Money

Austin Knudsen, Montana Speaker of the House

By Austin Knudsen, Montana Speaker of the House.

In April, Sen. Jon Tester joined an unsuccessful partisan effort to filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. To justify his actions, Tester said at the time, “With Judge Gorsuch on the bench, I am deeply concerned that dark money will continue to drown out the voices and votes of citizens.”

It seems Tester has changed his tune on “dark money” just a few months later.

While the liberal “dark money” group Majority Forward has been pummeling Montana’s voters with Television ads on Tester’s behalf – Sen. Tester has remained silent.

The blatant hypocrisy of bemoaning “dark money” in attempt to score political points and then willfully accepting it when it benefits him personally is appalling.

Here’s the truth: Majority Forward is the “dark money” piece of New York Senator and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Super PAC.

The ad features professionally shot and produced footage that was made publicly available via Tester’s YouTube channel on June 7, yet the ad began running weeks before.

It’s against the law for

County attorney office cost drive budget

Originally published in the 6/23/17 print edition of Yellowstone County News.

BILLINGS — Of all the budgeting problems faced by Yellowstone County, planning for the future of the County Attorney’s department is of great concern to Kevan Bryan, county finance director. The reallocation of other funds to supplement the County Attorney’s office is not a sustainable approach over the long term, Bryan told Yellowstone County Commissioners during budget hearings this week.

The most direct approach to deal with the problem would be to get voter approval to increase the public safety mill levy by 5-7 percent, suggested Bryan. Already drawing upon its reserves, as well as being supplemented from the general budget, the County Attorney’s department will run out of reserves by the end of FY 2023, said Bryan.

Budget hearings are being held every day this week, during which time, commissioners meet with department heads to review their needs for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. Final budget hearings will be held after the state submits its valuations to the county in late August or early September.

Bryan began the hearing, explaining the situation posed by the ever-increasing demands on the county attorney’s office. “Our county attorney’s office

City Awards Legal Advertising contract to Yellowstone County News

Billings- The City of Billings awarded Yellowstone County News in Monday night’s City Council meeting the legal advertising contract for the next contract period. In an extensive consent agenda and debate, discussion revolved around long standing tradition of where Billings’ legal advertising has gone for many years, whether the business was located within city limits or whether businesses and individuals will follow the change.

City of Billings staff had recommended that the City Council approve the agreement for legal advertising with Yellowstone County News for one year, with five, one-year options to renew by mutual agreement.

During executive action and debate, Council member Brent Cromley made the motion to award the Billings Times as the legal advertising contract publication of record while Council member Mike Yakawich seconded the motion. Council member Rich McFadden said that he would vote against the motion, as Yellowstone County News actually “had won the bid and came