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Mayoral candidates state their case at the Elks Lodge

Alastair Baker
News Editor

The Beartooth Elks Lodge, Red Lodge, played host to an evening of election candidates last week. In total 6 candidates made an appearance except William Bernard, running for Ward 2, who had a prior family commitment. Joel Todd, Chair of the Elk’s Board of Trustees, officiated.
First to speak were the incumbent Red Lodge Mayor Mike Schoenike and challenger Bill Larson.

Both faced six questions covering the police chief position, drug issues, affordable housing, vacant lot rates, Capital Improvement Projects and the Resort Tax.

Regarding the police chief position Larson felt it was time to get the process going since 18 months had been a long time between the last chief and this “wasn’t fair to the department or the community.”
Schoenike responded that the process has started and the City will be looking in Montana and beyond.

Asked if the City should have a part in dealing with solving the drug issues in town, Schoenike believed so with a need to “extend outreach and education” since he felt that the “traditional war on drugs is probably not the best approach.”
“I think the City has a large part in fighting drugs,” said Larson. “I’d like to see police officers in schools and start educating the students (from K-12.)”

“I’d also like to see the police being more aggressive on cracking down on drugs,” said Larson.

Regarding the City’s Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and whether this should be adopted into the budget, Larson felt it should be as long as projects were prioritized and looked at on a yearly basis.
Schoenike said the CIP is part of the budget and the City does try to prioritize on a yearly basis.

“The big trick is finding funding for CIP. Just those funds are not enough. We are constantly looking for state grants and other funding opportunities,” he said.

In the ongoing call for affordable housing, Schoenike said that when he was on the planning board he wanted to reduce the set backs to get more housing onto the land. “The City does have a roll and will continue to push (for this),” he said.
Larson cited West Yellowstone as a town with an “aggressive” policy towards affordable housing.

“When mayor I will go there to find out about it. It’s something we don’t need to create, someone is already doing it,” he said.

With vacant lots and rate structures a hot topic, both candidates agreed to look further into this issue and talk with the owners and come to a compromise.

In the final question, infrastructure and the Resort Tax were paramount as they fed off each other said Schoenike and Larson.


Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 26, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 6:00pm
    The Carbon County Republican Lincoln Reagan Dinner is April 27 starting at 6 p.m. Social Hour, Beef Dinner at 7 p. m. at the Joliet Community Cente. Silent auction, pie auction, live auction of gun. Contact: Ed at 606-2159 and Cynthia at 425-1226.
  • Monday, April 29, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.