Lewis and Clark County Attorney Gallagher offers advice as retirement nears

Phil Drake

Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher said Thursday that the county suffers because of under-funding from the state, and urged another revenue source other than property tax to be found.

“The mental health system is a wreck,” Gallagher, who is retiring as county attorney after 22 years, told members of Hometown Helena, a grassroots civics group.

He said state government is not providing the adequate funding for basic services to meet human needs. He said the criminal justice system is not adequately funded either, noting the state is not reimbursing counties enough funds to cover the costs of holding state inmates in county jails.

Gallagher said there is only so much blood in the “property tax turnip” that can be squeezed to get those funds.

“We need to understand that property taxes do not solve all of our problems,” he said, adding that another revenue source needs to be found. But he said a sales tax was not an option either.

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Gallagher spoke to the group about his office and his decision to step down.

“I am 68 years old and tired of working as hard

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