Today, November 30, the Lake County Commissioners sent a letter to the Governor with examples of “questions or situations that need clarity as all impacted parties move through the passage of jurisdiction from the County to the State”.
The commissioners spoke to a full meeting room at 10 am this morning, and many officials were available to answer questions from concerned citizens. Sheriff Bell as well as CSKT Chief of Police Craig Couture assured that all 911 calls will be answered just as before. They will continue to make sure that everyone is safe, regardless of jurisdiction.
Solutions are needed to replace the system that was not working for Lake County. A lawsuit filed by inmates has cost the county upwards of $1 million, which has to be added to the $4 million of annual costs of PL280 – a bill footed by local taxpayers. Property taxes have seen hikes up to 27%, as mentioned by a taxpayer at the meeting.
The question was posed why we cannot use models in place in other Montana counties with reservations. County Attorney Lapotka explained that the uniqueness of Lake County requires different solutions, since only 20% of the population consists of tribal members.
The public is encouraged to write Gov Gianforte’s office with constructive suggestions on the matter. The Governor vetoed the bill put forward by the legislature regarding withdrawal, which was backed by tribal representatives also.
See Western Montana News today’s report here.