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Training offered July 24 for local government review

by MSU News Service
| July 11, 2024 12:00 AM

Montana State University Extension’s Local Government Center will provide support to the 43 municipalities – including Polson, Ronan and St. Ignatius – and 12 counties in Montana that are participating in the decennial local government review.

The center will provide training for study commissioners, including an online training July 24, and support municipalities and counties through the process, according to MSU Extension Local Government Center Director Dan Clark.

Clark said Local Government Center staff want to “take the mystery” out of what is expected of a study commissioner.

Municipalities and counties across the state asked voters during the June primary election to decide whether to initiate a study of their local governments. Twelve of Montana’s 56 counties voted to conduct a local government review, as did 43 of the state’s 127 municipalities.

The next step for participating municipalities and counties is for local citizens interested in leading the voter-initiated review to file to be elected as study commissioners.

Study commissioners will spend 18 months leading discussions among local citizens about their local government’s existing power and form of government and evaluate alternatives. Thoughtful and engaged study commissioners are critical to the success of a local government review, Clark said.

“Through this process, study commissioners can determine if adopting an alternative will lead to more effective or responsive local government,” Clark said. “All proposed changes by the study commission will need to be presented to the voters no later than the general election in November 2026.”

Those interested in serving as a study commissioner have until Aug. 12 to file as a candidate. The election is nonpartisan, and there is no filing fee to be a candidate. Declaration for nomination forms can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at sosmt.gov/elections/forms/#37-45-wpfd-for-candidates.

Those interested in serving as study commissioner or those who have already filed to be on the general election ballot in November are invited to participate in an online training hosted by the MSU Extension Local Government Center at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 24.

For more information about the local government review or to register for the online study commissioner training, visit the Local Government Center’s website at montana.edu/extension/localgov/.