Making Democracy Work

Positions on Local Government

Consensus on Local Government--1978;updated 2005

1. Good local government should provide:

  • a. clear lines of responsibility
  • b. defined job descriptions
  • c. policy-making authority
  • d. checks and balances
  • e. provision for maximum citizen participation
  • f. accessibility and accountability to the public
  • g. recall provision for elected officials

2. Administrative officials should be appointed on the basis of qualifications, rather than by election process. Professional management should be utilized in whatever form of government exists.

3. Cooperation between the three local governmental units, city, county and school district should be encouraged in providing services equitably and efficiently, and in the planning of large facilities.

4. Good government seeks out and recognizes the needs of all members of the community.

5. LWV recommends single-member districts for county commissioners.

6. The LWV of Billings strongly recommends that any elected governmental study commissions should work together, not separately, with the goal of further unifying governmental services for efficiency.

Consensus on Alternative Sources of Revenue--1981;updated 2005

Having studied the effect of inflation on the Billings City budget, it is the consensus of the League of Women Voters of Billings that property taxes cannot continue to be depended upon as the main source of income for the city of Billings. In order to relieve the pressure on property taxes alternate sources of money will need to be enabled and adopted.

The League of Women Voters of Billings believes that the alternate sources of money should be judged according to the following criteria:

  • 1. They should be responsive to the changes in the economy.
  • 2. They should be assessed equitably.
  • 3. They should be administered in a cost efficient manner.
  • 4. The source should be sufficient to meet the growing needs of the city.
  • 5. Since Billings is a retail center for a very large area, as well as a tourist destination, a local option sales tax should be considered. (2005)

Consensus on Consolidation-1982;updated 2005

In judging any form of local government, we use a number of long-established criteria:
  • 1. Clear lines of responsibility
  • 2. Systems of checks and balances
  • 3. Provision for maximum citizen participation
  • 4. Accessibility and accountability to the public
  • 5. Administrative officials hired on the basis of qualification rather than by election.

In 1982, the League of Women Voters of Billings believed it essential to consolidate law enforcement. In 2005, we continue to recommend consolidation, particularly of city and county planning, and of other departments as well.