STEVENSVILLE – The Stevensville Town Council is has approved putting a levy request before voters in November to help fund the local police department.
The step comes as some members of the council have expressed concern about the department’s expenses and short manpower. But before the proposal goes to the ballot, the public is being asked to weigh in on the matter.
Stevensville Police Chief James Marble is the only regular uniformed officer on duty following a pair of resignations from the department.
Mayor Brandon Dewey was the tie-breaking vote at Monday’s town council meeting to request putting an estimated $200,000 mill levy on the November ballot.
But before doing that they want to hear from the public. Over the course of their town hall meetings in the coming month, the board will discuss a public hearing date. Dewey says as soon as they have a public hearing date set, they will notify the media.
Mayor Dewey told MTN News Tuesday that the council still needs to iron out the specific number for the proposed levy as they need to do more research, but he expects it to be in the $200,000 ballpark. The council has until mid-August to make a final decision — based on public input — to decide whether or not to put the levy before voters.
The council also decided at Monday’s meeting to not enter into contract negotiations with the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services.
Mayor Dewey told MTN News he wants to exhaust all their options, get a better understanding of police service needs in Stevensville, before handing over complete operations to the sheriff.
Mayor Dewey added that the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office will continue to supplement police protection in Stevensville.