Public Safety Mill Levy - Voter InformationEmail the Department

The County Attorney Public Safety Mill Levy will raise 8 mills on all property in Yellowstone County if the levy is passed by the voters on November 7, 2017.  This levy will raise an additional $2.752 million annually.  The levy is perpetual.  Impact on a $100,000 home is $10.80; on a $200,000 home $21.60.

Reasons for increasing demand on the County Attorney’s Office:

  • Two more District Judges will be added to Yellowstone County starting in January, 2019.  More judges mean more attorneys will need to be physically present in the courtroom for hearings, law and motion, trials and other legal matters.

  • The explosion of methamphetamine in the community is driving demands on the County Attorney on a number of fronts.  A survey of all felony cases in 2016 show that in 426 cases involved methamphetamine in some fashion.  This amounts to 32.2% of the 1324 felony cases filed in 2016.  Largely because of the pervasiveness of methamphetamine use, child abuse and neglect cases have risen to 531 filings in 2016, up from 124 in 2010.  Many of the methamphetamine-related felony cases involve violent crime.

  • There were 182 involuntary commitments filed by the County Attorney in 2016.  Involuntary commitments are for persons who have a mental disorder and who are either an imminent danger to themselves, an imminent danger to others or who are unable to care for themselves.  This number has risen from 52 cases filed in 2011, an increase of approximately 350%.

  • The population of Yellowstone County was 127,641 in 2000, the year the original County Attorney Mill Levy was passed.  In 2015, the last reported year, that number was 157,048, an increase of 30,000 residents.

  • Last year the voters passed a constitutional imitative which greatly expanded the demand for victim services that were already stretched to unsustainable levels.  One of the expansions provided that the definition of “victim” has been extended to even those persons on the faultless side of minor traffic offenses.

  • The 2017 Montana Legislature cut county reimbursement for witness fees which now are the sole responsibility of the County Attorney.

The County’s response includes the addition of 10 FTE’s over the last 10 years. Of the 10 new FTE’s, 6 have been added in the last 6 months and these are still insufficient to meet demands on the office.

The County General Fund reserves are being taxed at an accelerating pace to meet the funding requirements to provide basic County Attorney services.  At the current pace, reserves for the General Fund will begin to erode in 2021, with the *County Attorney Fund being drained of reserves in 2023.

The County Attorney Public Safety Mill levy has remained unchanged, except as to small statutory allowances, since it was first passed by the public in 2000.

*Changed From General Fund