The Local Government Interim Committee met on January 15 for half day meeting during Legislative Week. The committee's main topics of discussion included additional funding for the MSU Local Government Center, the entitlement share growth rate calculation, and the study of alternative on-site wastewater treatment systems as outlined in SJ 3.

The MSU Local Government Center's Advisory Committee presented a funding proposal to provide additional staff to help the center maintain its current level of services. Currently, the LGC employs 3.45 FTE and proposes increasing their staff to 6.0 FTE. The proposal suggests that "the additional resources will allow the LGC to increase training, facilitation, and technical assistance to local governments on policy-driven financial stewardship, effective long-term management of public resources and professional development of elected and appointed officials". The committee decided to continue researching the funding of the center and revisit the proposal at the March meeting.

In November, the LGIC received information about the creation of the entitlement share program and raised many questions about the growth rate calculation and its application. To follow up, the committee received on overview of the growth rate calculation, focusing on significant policy changes over time, at the January meeting.

The LGIC wrapped up their meeting with further work on SJ3: Study of alternative septic systems. The committee received a report comparing multiple states' rules regarding the location and design of on-site wastewater systems and ended the day with a panel discussion of engineers and consultants. The panel discussed their areas of expertise and experience with on-site wastewater treatment systems and communicated the challenges and successes working with Montana rules regarding the types of systems currently allowed in the state.

The committee looks forward to a busy March meeting, continuing their research into entitlement share and alternative on-site wastewater treatment systems while also introducing topics such as affordable housing and special districts, topics that were approved earlier in the interim.

For meeting materials or to listen to the audio/visual minutes of the meeting, visit the committee website. For questions, please contact committee staff.

Committee website:

Committee staff: Toni Henneman, or 406-444-3593.

The Legislative News.