Candidate Questionnaire: Spencer Galloway
Family: My wife Allisha, who is active Air Force, and Ein our Corgi fur baby
Brief background/experience that’s relevant to City Commission: Live paycheck to paycheck, this point of view would be invaluable for perspective. Family has owned and operated business here in Great Falls since before I was born, giving me familiarity in numerous aspects of city functions and interactions with businesses of Great Falls. Two years experience as management of a Dairy Queen and I am currently the head chair of the Great Falls 4th of July Parade Committee.
Q: What is your view on privatization of services currently being provided?
A: I think the city shouldn’t be involved in things that aren’t an absolute necessity to city functions, such as police, fire and such. Things like a water park should be left to the private sector to run.
Q: Do you support the continued operation of the Natatorium or other indoor municipal swimming facility?
A: I support there being a city-run 365 day a year indoor and outdoor rec center, that would have a swimming pool and family friendly options available.
Q: Most people don’t like increasing taxes or fees for services. Do you believe the city fees for service should increase as costs increase? If not, what services do you believe the city should subsidize and how should the city pay for those services?
A: Yes, as taxes increasing to keep city functions running as necessary is only reasonable, unless they aren’t functioning than something else is wrong. I’m not for the city subsidizing services.
Q: Given the limited resources available, which one of these would you identify as your top priority: funding mental health and addiction treatment programs, hiring more police officers, or improving community relations with the existing police force?
A: Hiring more police officers…instead of things like historical preservation officers.
Q: If you are elected, how will you ensure that neighborhoods look and feel safe and how will you measure success?
A: I don’t think the City Commission can ensure safer and cleaner neighborhoods without adding more city ordinances and expecting that they are enforced, which ultimately won’t happen as our police and staff are overloaded as is.
Q: What do you think the role of the city commission should be in economic development and do you believe a more active role could create conflicts of interest when it comes to annexation, zoning or tax incentive votes that would require commission approval?
A: They should be the medium between public opinion and city experience. Making the best decision for Great Falls based off this. A more active role wouldn’t be an issue “if” the city commission has taken all actions as to be as transparent and ethical whenever possible. Err on the side of caution and listening to city council first and foremost.
Q: Some have suggested Great Falls needs to grow and attract more people to town and also companies offering higher paying wages. Do you have any concern that rapid growth or an influx of higher paying jobs would lead to increased housing costs and increased cost of living and traffic, like what’s been seen in Bozeman and Missoula? Why or why not, and could those issues be mitigated?
A: No, because business as usual isn’t working. I view Great Falls as a sinking ship taking on water. Never before in my life do I remember a time when I could drive up and down 10th Avenue South and count almost 30 empty businesses. Youth leave this town at every chance and rarely do I hear they intend to come back. Some serious changes need to happen to patch the hole in the USS G.F. that is taking on water and then we can begin bailing out all that Great Falls has taken on.
Q: The city has 57 parks. Some consider the park system as an asset in recruiting businesses, new residents and tourists. Others have suggested selling parks to reduce maintenance costs. Since the funds from park sales must go back into the park and rec department, do you support the sale of any city parks?
A: If they city can’t afford to run or maintain them than i think sales or re-purposing should take place. I don’t see it as being an asset to attract companies to our city, when the 57 aren’t clean and maintained. I see this a reason they should raise and eyebrow and ask, why so many parks if they can’t maintain them and if the parks aren’t nice why is this attractive?
Q: State law allows the city to impose a mill levy sufficient to generate the amount of property taxes annually assessed in the prior year plus one-half of the average rate of inflation for the prior three years. In recent years, city departments have been asked to reduce their budgets, which can mean a reduction in services for citizens. What is your opinion of the utilization of the inflationary factor and for what reasons would you impose or not impose the increased tax?
A: I think that it can be an asset to be utilized for positive growth, but not utilized properly it will create negative public opinions. Reasons I would not impose a levy would range from having too many other taxes already in effect to the social impact doesn’t outweigh burden it will create. Reasons I would impose a levy would have to have a direct impact on city functions requiring the funding.
Q: How do you think the city should balance flexibility in working with business development and ensuring the city’s interests are protected from development that might not have a positive effect in the city?
A: I think the city could streamline the process a little more, to encourage more business owners to step in and add to our local economy without being forced to jump through flaming hula hoops. I also think that something is wrong with this city’s perspective on business development impacts, because we have more casinos than you can shake a stick at.
Q: Neighborhood councils were created by a public vote in 1996 after a public review of the city’s form of government. Two decades ago people felt that city government could be inaccessible and the councils were created as a stepping stone. Today, council meetings often have poor attendance. How would you make better use of the Neighborhood Council system?
A: I think it could be an easy fix. We have poor attendance, but not no attendance. So it is pretty simple actually. Reduce the number of neighborhood councils. Our population isn’t going to be getting any bigger anytime soon, so divide up the councils and reset the boundaries of each. Councils are the front line of Great Falls and as such I think it be vastly important that if elected I get to know every council’s leader and be on a first name bases, staying as up to date in city happenings as possible.