Welcome!

Welcome to the movement. Missoula should be affordable for ALL Missoulians.  As Mayor, I'll get us moving in the right direction.

Missoula Democratic Forum Answers

Name: _______Lisa Triepke_________        Ward or Mayor:       Mayor           

Political Party___ Democrat        Republican          Independent        Other Party          Prefer not to say

Are you an incumbent?   ____ Yes        _X__ No

Campaign Contact Information

Address:                      P.O. Box 2924

City and Zip Code:      Missoula, MT59806

Phone:                        406-42MAYOR (426-2967)

Email:                          triepke4mayor@gmail.com

1. The Central Committee is empowered to vote to support candidates in nonpartisan elections. Do you want the support of Missoula County Democrats?

                   ___Yes                            ___No                 _X__Neutral     

2. In what type of assistance would you be interested? (check all that apply)

    ___Public Endorsement        ___Financial Contributions    ___Assisting Contacting Voters     ___Other

3. Do you currently hold or do you expect to seek any other endorsements in this election, if yes, from whom? 

Endorsements, (listed on website)

4. Why do you want to be Missoula City Mayor

I believe Missoula should be affordable for all Missoulians.  We should be able to depend on bread and butter services that are covered by our taxes; and that constituents have a clear voice in local government. 

5. What are your short-term goals, and long-term vision for the City of Missoula.  What top three objectives would pursue to advance your vision? Please ensure at least one is focused on your ward.

My long-term vision for Missoula would be to create an economic climate where Missoulians can afford to live, work and thrive, and to make Missoula a city where our children afford to live and raise their families.  

Three top objectives to advance this vision would include:

·         Prioritizing spending and exercising fiscal responsibility

·         Making the right infrastructure investments at the right time with funding transparency

·         Focusing on incentivizing developers to build affordable housing. 

Ward 4 is heavily affected by the Brooks St. Corridor, I’ll continue to monitor that planning process and how the changes affect the residents.

6. How has your work and/or community service in Missoula prepared you to positively contribute as a City Council Member? If you have a resume of your work or community service activities, which might apply to Council work, include if you wish, as that will help us get to know you better as to your experiences that have prepared you to be on the Council.

As a business woman, I have extensive experience with finance, budgets, deadlines, and reporting. 

In service to Missoula, I’ve spent 8 years on local school boards, primarily focusing on policies that supported the vision and mission of the district, as well as evaluating administration personnel and budgeting.  Transparency and accountability issues were often addressed.

I have been fortunate to work for some amazing businesses and non-profits in Missoula.  I’m currently Director of Marketing and Community Outreach at CostCare.  I’ve worked at Five Valleys Land Trust, the UM Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Missoula Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

While the missions varied in each of these positions, I worked within a budget, creating business or fundraising plans, evaluating the programs and adjusting them when needed. If the money was not there, we weren’t able to spend it.

Within Missoula, I'm active on local youth sports boards, including inheriting one past program that was financially in the red after multiple years of existence.  I worked with a fantastic team of fellow board members to improve the program and after only one year, were able to get the club back into the black.  These boards include Glacier Ice Rink, Missoula Lacrosse Club, and Hellgate Lacrosse. 

I recently graduated from Leadership Missoula, class of 2017, which promoted effective local leadership, community representation, education, information, and opportunities for engagement.  My resume is attached for further information.

7. To what extent, and by what means, should the City of Missoula shape business and residential growth using regulations on private development?

Simplifying rather than complicating the development requirements can allow us to reform the gentrification system, by focusing on renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to multi-class living.

There are far too many stories of business owners, developers and homeowners trying to build or improve their properties and get unknown curveballs thrown at them after they think they are near the end, costing them tens of thousands of dollars which are then passed on into the final price of the home, raising the cost exponentially. 

We need to incentivize developers to build affordable housing, perhaps by abating impact fees.   We could be putting our energies into encouraging ways to drive down costs of maintaining and operating buildings through infrastructure planning. 

We also need to seek and develop partnerships with local banks, developers, and businesses to create financing opportunities for affordable housing units.

 8. Does the City of Missoula offer good value for the cost, quality, and quantity of services it offers? Please explain your approach to budgeting in light of your answer

Unfortunately, with the increase of property taxes we seem to be seeing a decrease in the availability/reliability of our bread and butter services, including snow removal, pothole patching, and maintenance and trash removal from public areas and parks.

We need to pay more attention to infrastructure and invest in it gradually, and at the right time.  I think our streets and parks employees are working hard but with limited resources and we need to ensure that the basic needs of the Missoula citizens are being met.

A fully funded reserve could allow for emergency staffing and equipment.  Personally, I live one block off a main artery and my roads went unplowed for two ten-day stretches.  Interestingly, citizens are required to shovel their walks by 9 am but the city currently takes up to ten days to plow.  Potholes can sneak up on you the same way and we need to make sure we are not causing major damage to our own cars because we can’t get the job done.  Ultimately, we need to provide these simple services that we all pay for and it can be done in seasonal rotation as Missoula approaches many things.

I would like to complement the annual financial audit with a functional budget analysis, so we can identify areas to improve productivity and eliminate wasteful spending. 

Rather than coming to the table with an automatic increase I would like to see budget projections in three scenarios – a 3-5% increase with solid justifications for the increases, a zero-increase to maintain as is, and a 5-7% decrease scenario based on audit results, and aim for a 100% return on investment on every tax dollar spent.

9. What would you do to support issues important to Native Americans in Missoula, and other minorities, as well as the LGBTIQ Community? Would you be in support of expanding the local hate crime/anti-discrimination ordinance and, if so, how?

 All populations deserve equal protections, opportunities, and access.  I trust our police force to carry out that edict.

 10. What is your view on Missoula accepting refugees from abroad? Have you been involved in that process, either by supporting or opposing it?

 Refugees are placed by a federal program, and regardless of how we feel about, we have no control over whom, how many, or where they are placed.  See my answer to #9.

 11. Housing and living wage issues: An analysis of Missoula’s house cost and income by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research shows that Missoula is more expensive that 96% of all U.S. counties.  How do you think the city should tackle the issue of affordable housing and living wages?  A good resource is this article (http://www.missoulacurrent.com/business/2017/01/missoula-economy-wages/)

 A.   Please describe specific policies you would support to encourage living-wage job creation and retention in the city?

One of the common themes I hear from Missoulians, is how small businesses struggle at all levels.  We must work harder to attract key companies, we need to be business friendly, welcoming them into our town rather than running them off with too many unnecessary rules and regulations.  The number of high paying, high tech jobs that have skipped right past us to Bozeman is staggering and the same reasons resonate – unfriendly business climate. 

We need to ensure that we fully support the departments that facilitate licensing and compliance, providing them with a set of rules that makes approving a new business simple.

As a city, we need to promote training and networking programs that help service professionals get their businesses up and running, teach them to comply with local established rules that make common sense and are not meant to be punitive, and meet other industry professionals.

B.    One of the consequences of growth is a lack of affordable housing. How do you think the city should tackle the issue? 

Missoula has become a city that many people can no longer afford to live in – the livability vs affordability factor is at an all-time high.  Rising taxes with no end in sight coupled with rapidly increasing home values affect so many populations – the elderly on fixed income, renters who absorb higher landlord taxes, and our future generations of children to name a few. 

We are facing a problem with a quickly approaching tipping point.  Affordable housing and quality of life are the rights of every Missoulian – We need to bring these priorities into the focus and the forefront. 

12. What role does the City of Missoula play in large scale environmental issues, like climate change, waste management, water quality, and habitat preservation?

Once Missoula has fully satisfied the needs and expectations of our citizens, we can tackle aspirational issues.  Whenever any initiative provides a higher standard of living, we should pursue them in practice.

13. In 2015, Missoula developed a “10-year Plan to End Homelessness”. What specifically would you do to ensure support for the Missoula Homeless community, and improve the safety net/ community approaches to local transient and permanent homeless populations?

Primarily, we need to make sure our downtown and neighborhoods are safe to work, play and live.  We can be respectful and empathetic, but the fact is some people choose this lifestyle and in some there may be an element of mental illness. 

We have business owners who are afraid to walk in and out of their businesses and often must walk over urine, vomit or worse.  Our responsibility is to make sure Missoula is safe for all. 

Locally, we need to support programs that encourage the transient population to get off the streets.  We have agencies in place to assist us on a limited level but the increase in panhandling has been exponential in recent years.  We also need to do a better job of informing the public about the social services Missoula offers. Regionally, we need to work with other communities who are facing the same issues and come up with common solutions and coordinate efforts.  Together we could join forces to make an impact on this issue.

14. Is there an issue the Missoula City Council has failed to address? How would you address it?

Becoming fully transparent, creating, and engaging in true two-way communication with citizenry; We need to start inviting constituent input and create a system to soliciting quantifiable input for all projects over a certain dollar amount.  I believe that there is always valuable input to be gained from Missoulians, and valuing opposing views could ultimately lead to better solutions. 

A current example of this is the increasing lane reduction “road diet” agenda currently being pushed by the current administration.  Missoula’s congestion is at an all-time high and the current transportation requests being considered by the Council include lane reduction studies for the 5th and 6th street corridors, as well as Higgins Avenue leading into downtown.  We need to find better ways to tangibly improve the traffic flow rather than making it worse.

Homelessness/Panhandling

My interview with local radio.