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 Sandra Vasecka.

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


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

Never-ending property tax increases are by far the biggest concern on everyone's mind right now. That, and the increasing criminal behavior around town.

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

This year, I proposed seven budget amendments to my colleagues to decrease our spending on items that could be either delayed or cancelled altogether. Unfortunately, all of my suggestions failed.

However, I will continue to work with my colleagues on council to try to compromise and ease everyone’s stress regarding their tax bill.

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

I am a supporter of the Police and Fire departments. During the last budget season, I worked hard to fund the police body-worn camera program. However, after working through it, I had a meeting with the mayor who informed me that he decided to include it in the budget afterall.

Although my efforts were in vain, it shows my dedication to supporting public safety. My voting record also reflects my support for funding items
that Police and Fire come to council asking us to fund.

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

I have spent all of my campaign funds through local Missoula businesses, except for one item that I could not find locally from a Montana business. For my everyday spending, I prefer to buy items from small businesses, such as produce from local farm stands or eggs and meat from Montana farmers and ranchers.

If I can’t find what I need at smaller stores, I go to bigger box stores in person or online for pickup instead of ordering from out of state. This is because these corporate-owned businesses pay property taxes to our local government.

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

I believe I addressed this question in Q2 and Q3, but to add - I believe public safety and streets are our biggest priority, and will continue to work with my colleagues and the mayor to try and convince them of the same.

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

Consultants, lobbyists, qualitative rather than quantitative studies.

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

I will continue to work towards balanced solutions that maintain our commitment to social safety for those who are down on their luck, while safeguarding our community
from criminal behavior enacted by a minority of transients.

I will encourage the police department to take action against blatant criminal behavior such as open drug use, drinking, public masturbation, and violence. Enacting laws against these illegal activities will discourage transients from staying in the area and allow our truly vulnerable population access to our limited resources.

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

Making it easier to start and expand businesses, hire and retain employees, and be more liberal with local zoning regulations can help reduce barriers to entry. Additionally,
minimizing property tax increases can help businesses save money and allocate resources more efficiently.

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

Reducing regulations surrounding the building industry can help streamline the process of obtaining business licenses and building permits. The more regulations we have, the longer it takes to get these permits, which increases variable costs for builders. This, in turn, increases costs for houses and rentals.

If it takes 9-12 months or more to get a building permit, the base costs for building materials such as cement and lumber could skyrocket out of your budget. It would be poor business practice to absorb these costs as it could put you out of business and you would most likely be in debt. These costs then get passed on to the home-buyer or renter. By streamlining the process, fewer costs would be variable, and housing would likely be more affordable.