Few filings so far in city election
Filing in the Great Falls city election opened Thursday and no one is storming the gates just yet.
As of Monday afternoon, Mayor Bob Kelly had filed to seek another two-year term and Steve Bolstad had filed for municipal judge seat he currently holds.
There’s still plenty of time to file before the June 17 deadline.
The mayor’s seat and two commission seats are on this year’s city ballot. Those seats are currently held by Kelly for mayor; Tracy Houck and Bill Bronson for commission.
Bronson told The Electric in March he’s not seeking reelection. Houck told The Electric she hasn’t decided yet but would likely announce her decision in May.
If needed, a primary election will be Sept. 10 and the general election is Nov. 5.
To trigger a primary, there would need to be three or more mayoral candidates and five or more commission candidates.
A primary would cost the city an estimated $45,000, according to the county elections office.
As of December, there are 36,339 active and inactive voters on the rolls for city elections. Of those, 30,952 are active and of those 25,097 are absentee, according to the elections office.
The city election will be a mail-only ballot.
If there’s a primary, ballots would be mailed in late August.
So far, there’s been no public indication that commissioners intend to put any measures on this year’s ballot such as levies for Civic Center repairs or public safety.
More information about elections, including how to register, is available here.
The filing fee for mayor is $56.16 and for commission seats the fee is $37.44.
More information on the city positions and election process is available here.
The Electric will have continued coverage of the city election throughout the year.
Also on the ballot this year, will be 45 neighborhood council positions–five members for each of the city’s nine councils for two-year terms; and municipal court judge for a four-year term,
To run for city office, a candidate be a Great Falls resident and registered to vote.
Those seeking a Commission seat must be a resident of Great Falls for at least 60 days preceding the election. Mayoral candidates must be at least 21 years of age and have been a resident of Montana for at least three years and a resident of Great Falls for at least two years preceding the election. Nominees for election to a Neighborhood Council must be residents of their designated neighborhood district.
Municipal Court judge candidates have the same qualifications as a judge of the district court as set forth in Article VII, Section 9, of the Montana Constitution, except a municipal court judge need only be admitted, and in good standing, to the practice of law in Montana for at least three years prior to the date of the election.
A municipal court judge shall be a resident of Cascade County one year preceding the election, and be a resident and voter in the City of Great Falls at the time of election. Further, a municipal court judge shall become certified as provided in Mont. Code Ann. §§ 3-1-1502 and 3-1-1503, to assume the functions of that office.
The city operates under the commission-manager form of government and the commission serves as the city’s legislative and policy-making body. The commission employs the city manager who directs the city’s day-to-day operations.
Commission meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month.
In 1996, a local government study commission recommended the formation of neighborhood councils in Great Falls to provide opportunities for citizen involvement in city government. The proposal was placed on the ballot and was approved. Since that time, neighborhood councils have operated in an advisory capacity and as liaisons to city staff, the commission and residents. Councils meet monthly.