Libby voters have rejected a proposed levy increase to pay for a new school resource officer.
On June 18, during the annual school election, 1,141 people voted against the increase and 906 voted in favor of the levy.
Earlier this year, Flathead Electric Cooperative announced it would reinvest members’ unclaimed capital credit dollars back into the communities it serves by helping fund three school resource officers in Flathead and Lincoln counties. The cooperative is paying for 50 percent of the estimated wages and benefits of two officers in Flathead County and had agreed to pay 30 percent of the cost for one officer in Libby. The cooperative had agreed to help fund the program for five years.
Capital credit checks are issued to Flathead Electric members every year, but sometimes that money goes unclaimed. Once a check remains unclaimed for five or more years, the cooperative is able to reinvest that money into the community.
In March, the Libby School Board decided to ask the public to consider a 5.51 mill levy increase to cover the remaining costs of the school resource officer. The mills would mean an increase of $7.44 in taxes on a home valued at $100,000.
When wages, benefits, training and equipment were all added up, officials estimated it would cost about $70,000 annually to have a school resource officer. Libby School District Superintendent Craig Barringer and Libby Police Chief Scott Kessel both said a school resource officer would be a welcome addition to the school.