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Interested in learning more about how the City works and decisions are made?

Interested in having a say and providing advice about Helena’s current and future needs, opportunities and directions?

If the answer to either or both of these questions is yes, then the Helena Citizens Council is a unique opportunity to be part of the process.

If you are interested in serving on the HCC in 2018, check us out on Facebook and on the City's website. Filing for a District position on the HCC started April 20 and ends June 19. The filing form is available in the Elections Office on the first floor of the City-County Building and must include your HCC District number and you must reside in the District you are filing for (map on website). The form is available at http://sos.mt.gov/Portals/142/Elections/Forms/Declaration-for-Nomination-Oath-of-Candidacy.pdf?dt=1484339810611. For more information, you can contact one of us or the Council Coordinator, Mary, at 406-447-8493 or MVANDEBOSCH@helenamt.gov. Alternatively, you can contact current District members by either looking for the HCC member’s yard sign or look us up on the HCC web page.

Included in the City’s Charter, the Helena Citizens Council (HCC), representing seven Neighborhood Districts, is the only organization within the City, other than the City Commission, that is established by the Charter. The Charter-stated purposes of the HCC are two-fold: 1) review and recommend actions relating to the annual budget”; and 2) “make recommendations relating to future development of the city.” The Charter additionally specifies that the HCC shall operate “independently from the city commission or city officials.”

Given this mandate by the City Charter, HCC members are engaged in four primary activities:

• Learning how the City works and decisions are made

• Representing neighborhood/citizen interests on City Boards and Commissions

• Undertaking research on topics and matters identified by the HCC members

• Recommending actions or advising the City Commission on budgetary and development matters

Learning: The HCC, as an independent body, is free to pursue a wide variety of topics of its choosing consistent within its City Charter-stated purposes. To be prepared to advise, requires learning more about a topic. Examples of topics considered by the HCC during the last few years include: budget priorities, the downtown master plan, civic center study and options, safety (police and fire), snow removal, impaired driving (use of cell phones), street conditions, traffic, truck routes and neighborhood impacts, quiet zones/railroad crossings, walking mall maintenance, school facilities, a local option gas tax, recycling, future water supply, neighborhood engagement, Ward 6 community park, transit plans and options, inter-city rail transportation connections, and others.

Representation: HCC members, representing the seven neighborhood districts, either serve as voting members on five city or joint city-county boards or as non-voting representatives on a wide variety of other city advisory boards or commissions. Sitting on these boards and commissions provides additional learning opportunities and raises HCC member awareness of a wider range of interests, concerns and upcoming decisions. In turn, HCC members bring this information back to the HCC at its monthly meetings, with potential for discussion and consideration for further HCC action and advice.

Research: Once the members decide to pursue a specific topic or matter for the purpose of developing recommendation to advise the City Commission, the topic is assigned to a fact-finding committee to undertake research on the topic, evaluate options and then report and make recommendations to the HCC at monthly meetings.

Recommendations/Advice: Members of the HCC Executive Committee attend scheduled City Commission meetings, both administrative and formal public hearings, and report on HCC activities and/or present HCC advice and recommendations based on its research activities or discussions.

We look forward to your involvement either as a member or as an interested citizen. We meet monthly on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7pm in Room 326. Your interest and participation is appreciated.

Gary Spaeth, Chair

Sumner Sharpe, Vice Chair

Mary Ann George, Secretary

Dick Sloan, Treasurer

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