The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Public hearing adresses proposed district


The Jefferson County Commission will decide later this month if local residents will have an opportunity to vote for or against the creation of the Jefferson Valley Rural Ambulance District.

The deadline for the public protest form mailed to real property owners within the district in March was May 15. The Commissioners also conducted a public hearing about the district May 16 at the Borden’s Building in Whitehall to allow residents to show support, opposition, or ask questions about the proposed district.

At the Tuesday meeting, Commission Chair Cory Kirsch announced the results of the protest forms. He said a total of 1,875 forms were sent out, with a total of 344 returned by the deadline. Of those returned, Kirsch said 220 were in opposition to the district, 95 were in support, 20 were returned as undeliverable and 29 were not properly filled out.

Kirsch said a total of 1,511 were not returned, and Montana State Law specifically states the failure to return the form by the required date would be construed as support for the creation of the district.

Several Whitehall residents expressed concern about the protest forms. Marty Keogh said she does not live within the proposed district, but still received it. Lori Young told the Commission she resides in the proposed district, but did not receive the form.

Dawn Welch asked the Commission if it was possible to have a neutral party outside of the area examine the results stating some people got ballots that shouldn’t have and some didn’t receive them.

The last to speak at the meeting was Dana Brunet, who addressed the potenitla confusion about the forms by saying this is a reason to put the issue on the ballot and giving resident the opportunity to vote.

A vote on the proposed district would take place later this year.


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