MISSOULA — Six Missoula City Council members who were elected in November will be sworn in on Monday.
Missoula Current editor Martin Kidston talked with MTN's Lauren Heiser to give us a look at some of the issues the new council will face in 2020.
Lauren: "Martin, who are some the new faces on the council?"
Martin: "We'll have three new faces Amber Sherrill, John Contos, Sandra Vasecka. They all won their election last November. We'll also have three returning incumbents Mirtha Becerra, Gwen Jones, Heidi West. So, the new composition of the city council will be a 9-3 differential. Nine progressives, three conservatives. Should shake things up going into 2020.
Lauren: "How long are their terms?"
Martin: "Their terms are four years and are staggered so the next batch of six who didn't run this year will be up again in two years from now."
Lauren: "What are some of the debates and issues from last year that will be tackled this year?"
Martin: "It will probably be housing, transportation, and growth are not going to go away. I think housing will rise to the top, like it did this year. Transportation will be an issue as the roads become more crowded and we'll want to find alternative means to get around the city. And growth and how we grow will remain an issue that the city and county are both addressing in their growth policies and growth plans moving forward."
Lauren: "And how to do you expect those issues to evolve over the course of this year?"
Martin: "We got a couple of housing projects that will be breaking ground in the next 12 to 14 months. The Trinity Project off Mullan Road and a couple city properties that you'll see some discussion on over the next few months on what they will be doing with those properties; including the current library site when the new library site opens.
"Transportation. You'll see some interesting things going on there. They're talking about a center bus lane down Brooks Street. That study will be wrapping up to see how feasible that's going.”
“Of course, the Build Grant the county got out towards Mullan that will be gaining some traction this year. They'll have a better idea what they will be doing with that money they got from the federal government to ease congestion back there.”
“And of course, the Higgins Avenue Bridge was delayed, but that will move forward in the next few months when the Department of Transportation rebids the project."
Monday's Missoula City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the city council's chambers.