Leadership, experience & values to give Bozeman the voice we deserve.
HEIDE'S TAKE ON THE ISSUES FACING BOZEMAN
Being responsible means not spending more than necessary, investing wisely in infrastructure to keep future expenses down, and making sure operations are efficient. Since most city funding comes from property taxes, it is important to make the tax impact as fair as possible. Increasingly higher taxes will have a negative impact on business, affordable housing, and opportunities for working and living in Bozeman. As a Bozeman school trustee, I voted for a resolution asking the Legislature to explore and pass alternative taxes to relieve the upward trend of property taxes. The legislature failed to pass the local options sales tax bill that would have allowed the City of Bozeman to craft a tax that would primarily impact visitors, as Big Sky has. Such a tax would provide some much-needed property tax relief to local taxpayers, including our local businesses.
The City of Bozeman has tested multiple methods for inspiring affordable housing, some more successful than others. Paying the impact fees for affordable housing as the city currently does is important, as is keeping current affordable housing reasonably priced. Those such as police officers and teachers should be able to live, as well as work, in Bozeman. Workforce housing is critical to the long term success of our community. There is also a need for balance between short term rentals and affordable housing. Business opportunities such as those provided by Airbnb can inject money into our community, but too much can impact the already tight housing situation. Support of public-private partnerships such as those under consideration by the school district and other community entities is one possible solution. The city must continue evaluating best practices to find solutions that fit our community.
GROWTH & STRATEGIC PLANNING
Growth will not be stopping any time soon in Bozeman and the surrounding area. We have time to manage our growth before it becomes a crisis, as it has in other communities. The strategic plan currently being adopted is based on widespread community input. In my experience on the Bozeman School Board, having a clear vision aids in making decisions and working with partners like the school district, county, university, and local businesses. Keeping our business environment strong is an important part of the vision. With priorities set by the community, the City Commission has a clear direction for making decisions large and small. These decisions help manage growth and keep Bozeman the beautiful city where we live, work and play.
Here in Montana diversity can refer to race, gender, socio-economic status, businesses large and small, and to the balance between city and green space. Many of us choose Bozeman as a place to stay, or to move to. We want to ensure a space that is welcoming to all manner of people and businesses, while retaining the character that keeps us here. I support the Bozeman Non-Discrimination ordinance. Diversity in people, economy, and ecology keeps our community strong.
As a trained meteorologist, I took my time researching global climate change to make sure I understood the implications. Here in Bozeman we are already feeling the effects of shorter winters, drier summers, and a longer fire season. All of these impact the safety of our natural resources and our quality of life. As a community we need to protect the environmental assets that are so vital to our way of life here in beautiful Bozeman. We also need to take advantage of future opportunities to keep our city sustainable, especially those that support our local businesses. The City of Bozeman is already a leader in many green initiatives and must continue to be a model to maintain our quality of life.