The Missoula Current sent a candidate questionnaire to all City Council candidates ahead of the General Election in November. Below is the response from Ward 6 council candidate Sean McCoy.

1. While this is a non-partisan race, how do you align politically?

One of the things that I appreciate about this race is its non-partisan nature because I don't “align” politically very well. I am a Democrat and a Republican as are my constituents and in order to serve them appropriately I feel it is my responsibility to be able to connect with everyone.

2. What do you see as the top issues facing the city at this point in time?

I see the top issues facing the city as housing and homelessness because they are interlinked, taxes, and infrastructure.

3. What would you bring to the table to resolve your top issue?

What I bring to the table is a background in forming teams and building coalitions to solve issues.  Housing and homelessness are huge issues that will take years of effort to address.  In order to address those issue, or any issue really, we need all of our public and private organizations working in concert.

On the public side local government must play a stronger role in addressing the issues through policy and community organizing. Policies fall flat without public by in, so we must also facilitate our local community leaders to bolster and support those policies.  Local churches, clubs, and civic organizations want to help with the issue and it is important for political leaders to bridge those gaps to facilitate the organization of the various groups.

The same thing can be said for the private sector.  Local businesses, banks, and corporations want to help, and I believe that is one of the roles of city council members is to bring people together in order to work on a common goal.

4. Do you support funding police and fire, and how would you help them gain the resources they need to do their job?

Yes, I absolutely support funding fire and police. I would seek to explore all available means of funding in order to better our departments. I also think it is important to ask the folks working within the departments what ideas they have to adequately fund there work. More often then not the people working in those fields have ideas on how to address the needs and challenges facing the department.

Lastly, I believe there is always a benefit from auditing our budgets, and using metrics to measure where are money is being spent wisely and where we could look to make adjustments within the budget.

5. In what way do you support local businesses, both big and small?

The primary way I support local businesses is by patronizing them. My family makes a considerable effort to buy from our small locally run businesses, and when we can't do that we support the larger ones. An ancillary way that I support local businesses is through the Missoula Farmers market as a board member and farm vendor. The Missoula farmers markets generate a substantial amount of business throughout the city.

6. The city is facing a budget crisis. How would you address it?

Addressing the City's budget challenges requires a multifaceted approach. First we need to make sure we are taking advantage of every available funding source. Furthermore, we must work to do everything we can to keep the city's budget as low as possible.

While simultaneously working to get state and federal officials to fund things like infrastructure projects which in turn frees up local tax revenue for other priorities.  There are no silver bullets to resolving complex issue, so we must rely upon all of the tools that we have available to us, while also remaining open to new tools and innovations to manage our city budget.

7. What areas would you cut to help the city balance it's budget next fiscal year?

I think one area we should definitely look at is consultant fees.  I also believe that we can look for cuts within the departments by beginning to apply some metrics to our audits.  If we can identify where our programs and projects are not meeting the communities needs then we can look to shift that funding somewhere else relieving the need for further funding.

8. How would you help address homelessness, and how does personal accountability come into play?

I would refer to question #3 for the first part of this question.  In regards to the second part, personal accountability is an important piece in helping people find there way out of houselessness.

The houseless community is as nuanced as the people who make up the community, and therefore we need nuanced approaches to address these people’s needs. It will be important for us to develop multiple paths for people to follow in order to secure housing.

9. How can the City of Missoula play a stronger role in supporting businesses and growing jobs?

I believe one of the most impactful things we can do as a city right now is to address the cost of living in Missoula. The cost of living is negatively impacting employers ability to find good people who can afford to live within Missoula. If we can find some ways to make it more affordable to live here then we will be assisting the business community a great deal.

10. How would you support housing development in Missoula without turning to subsidies like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund?

I believe one of the most impactful things we can do for housing development is the ongoing updated to the Missoula Growth Policy and the forthcoming code reform.  These are tremendous opportunities to make a lasting impact on how development is handled.  If we can make the process more flexible, quicker, and less expensive then we are helping to lower some of the costs to building.