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Butte chief executive debate covers Superfund and economic issues

Posted at 11:10 AM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 13:10:50-04

BUTTE — Butte’s five Chief Executive candidates agreed during a Monday night debate that the consent decree for the Superfund cleanup needs to be signed and a thorough cleanup needs to follow.

“I think as a county we have to take it, because if we go back to the drawing board they may not be as generous,” said candidate Tom Cronnelly.

Incumbent Dave Palmer said, “It’s a great deal, we’re going to come out with 120-acre park that’s going to be second to none with a new amphitheater for economic development.”

Candidate J.P. Gallagher said, “The things that we’re going to get out of this consent decree are probably as good as we could ever imagine.”

Candidate Brendan McDonough said, “And I think that we can all come to some consensus that we’ve talked about whether it’s resorting the creek or other features.”

Candidate Ted Deshner added, “And none of this mess should fall on the taxpayers, not today, tomorrow or 50 years down the line.”

Beside relying on mining, the candidates were asked how they would move Butte’s economy into the future.

Palmer said, “We’ve been working to diversify our economy and we continue to do that today.”

Brendan McDonough said, “The people that love Butte that have a vested interest, that have succeeded elsewhere, they’re the folks that we should be targeting for economic development.”

Some candidates would focus on marketing.

“Their job is to market like a sales organization would, they would go out and they would cast the line to try to get more companies,” said Cronnelly.

Deshner said, “We want more money people in this area to provide more better jobs for more of our people.”

One suggested marketing Butte’s recreation opportunities like other Montana cities.
“And truthfully we have what they have and even better,” said Gallagher.