MACo’s Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee focuses on how MACo can assist counties in the worldwide transition to a global economy by adapting to the changes in technology, infrastructure, workforce development, marketing, and business development.

Committee Policy Statements

Committee policy statements are a compilation of various issues and/or beliefs, which members have identified as major concerns and goals of county government. A “policy statement” provides guidance to staff, legislators, and the public on MACo’s position regarding possible legislation and/or issues that may arise during a legislative session and/or the Interim.

Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee Policy Statements

MACo is committed to assisting counties in the worldwide transition to a global economy by adapting to the changes in technology, infrastructure, workforce development, marketing, and business development.

  1. MACo supports and assists in both establishing and strengthening partnerships between our governments at all levels, our schools and universities, both public and private, and the private sector to achieve the common goal of a healthy economy and future development opportunities.
  2. MACo believes that telecommunications, transportation, rural water and wastewater systems, as well as workforce transformation and development needs must be addressed to allow counties and their citizens to compete and share in our nation’s prosperity.
  3. MACo believes that telecommunications infrastructure, particularly broadband data communications, can neutralize both major barriers to rural economic growth (distance and lack of economies of scale—smaller market sizes) and level the competitive playing field.
  4. MACo is committed to assisting counties in their efforts to provide competitive and available transportation for moving products to market, located in or out of state.
  5. MACo is committed to the expansion of a variety of tools, which are currently provided by state law to municipal governments, to include use by the county governments of Montana. These tools assist in the development of infrastructure that is essential to economic development opportunities. Of importance to MACo is the simplification and expansion of Tax Increment Financing opportunities for counties.
  6. MACo believes that Montana’s tax structure must not be allowed to serve as an obstacle to economic growth by placing unfair burdens on any one sector of taxpayers.
  7. MACo believes that economic development must begin at the local level and involve the entire community. Local governments need to continue to support existing businesses’ efforts to compete in the new economy and encourage new business development. This can be done by:
    a. Supporting existing or new economic development corporations, either on a local or regional basis; and
    b. Supporting efforts to stimulate the growth of venture capital and venture capital undertakings, specifically as they relate to value-added businesses and increasing the use of tax increment financing, industrial development bonds and state funded economic development programs at the county level.
  8. MACo supports the continuance of existing Montana economic development programs included in MCA 15-35-108 and identified by the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) as critical to Montana’s competitiveness. MACo also encourages the development, by MEDA and with participation from MACo, of a long-term strategy for Montana that includes analysis of the existing programs and opportunities for improvement.
  9. MACo is committed to the exploration, development and responsible use of Montana’s natural resources for economic development.
  10. MACo believes that our schools and universities are important to economic growth and development and will continue to assist counties in their efforts to be a part of the public discussion to determine funding levels for education. The goal must be to arrive at a funding level that maintains a strong educational program that supports not only K-12 but also learning for life opportunities without requiring service cuts in other essential government services. We place value on training programs designed for the available job market and on efforts to remove the remaining obstacles to the transfer of post-secondary credits between the full range of Montana’s post-secondary educational facilities.
  11. MACo endorses a partnership between local elected officials and the various state and federal programs, which provide workforce training and affordable workforce housing.
  12. MACo is committed to assisting counties with their land-use planning activities that include community growth plans, which address maintaining and preserving a healthy downtown and main street, the historic character of the community, open space, outdoor recreational activities such as hunting and fishing and growth development plans.
  13. MACo supports the exemption of Federal Funds that flow through state agencies from any Statewide Cost Allocation Plan.
  14. MACo supports continued long-term operations of existing U.S. Post Office and sorting facilities in communities across America.
  15. MACo supports legislation that will provide counties and municipalities with adequate, up-front, impact funding to alleviate the demands on county and municipal services intensified by natural resources activity, so already stressed taxpayers will not suffer loss of services. MACo believes that the source of funding for this effort should not affect the current severance payments made to producing counties.
  16. MACo supports requiring county participation in any decisions surrounding abatement of county property taxes or other county taxes. Tax abatements can be a critical tool in attracting investment into counties, but tax abatements and the projects requesting them have varying impacts at the local level and thereby local officials should be integral in the decisions surrounding them.
  17. MACo believes that responsible mining is a cornerstone of Montana’s economy and passage of laws that unduly and negatively impact mining operations or encourage unnecessary litigation will harm the economic interests of Montana communities.
  18. MACo believes that changes in permitting processes or rulemaking necessary to address environmental concerns associated with mining activity are better done in an open, participatory, public process where meaningful public input can be considered when making decisions impacting this vital component of our economy.

Committee Members

  • Joe Briggs, Co-chair, Cascade County Commissioner
  • Jim McCormick, Co-chair, Lewis & Clark County Commissioner
  • Ruth Baker, Treasure County Commissioner
  • Ruth Baue, Treasure County Commissioner
  • John Carnahan, Phillips County Commissioner
  • Mark Crago, Stillwater County Commissioner
  • Bill Everett, Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Commissioner
  • J.P. Gallagher, Butte-Silver Bow County Chief Executive
  • Tyrel Hamilton, Stillwater County Commissioner
  • Mary Ann Harwood, Toole County Commissioner
  • Donald Jones, Yellowstone County Commissioner
  • Kevin Krausz, Custer County Commissioner
  • Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County Commissioner
  • Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County Commissioner
  • John Overcast, Glacier County Commissioner
  • Debbie Randolph, Broadwater County Commissioner
  • Alan Stempel, McCone County Commissioner
  • David Strohmaier, Missoula County Commissioner
  • Ty Taylor, McCone County Commissioner
  • Larry Vandersloot, Big Horn County Commissioner
  • Sarah Converse, MT Economic Development Association Rep.