1906 Kalispell Ordinance: Annual Appropriations
I recently found an online directory of Kalispell City ordinances and thought it’d be intriguing to see what some of the ordinances of the past were. If I can find enough interesting material, I hope to share one from each year up until now. This week’s post will cover a Kalispell ordinance I found from 1906.
Kalispell City Ordinance number 176 became official on May 7, 1906. It isn’t really that unusual or interesting. After all, the ordinance just shares budgets for various city funds and also talks about salaries that are paid from the city’s Contingent Fund.
What makes this interesting is the difference in some of these line items between 1906 until 2022/3.
Looking at salaries, the first column of numbers shows the annual salary for each of these job titles in the early 1900s. Policemen and fireman made $900 per year in 1905 while the librarian brought in $120 per year and the Mayor only $200 per year.
The second column of figures shows the minimum salary for the same or similar positions in 2023 (except the mayor which shows the actual salary). So a policeman went from $900 per year in 1906 to $58K in 2023, the fireman from $900 to $72K and so on. The last column shows the % increase per year which was just calculated by taking the total growth and dividing by 117 years.
What’s interesting (to this author) is the implied importance placed on various job titles. The salaries of policemen, firemen, the chief of police and engineer rose much slower than the more administrative roles of city clerk, librarian, commissioner and even mayor. Could that be just because the administrative position salaries were too low to begin with and were adjusted to make them more realistic for that kind of job? Or could it be that Kalispell values a city clerk more than a police officer? I don’t know the answer but thought it was an interesting question.
The rest of the ordinance dealt with the appropriations for various Kalispell City funds. Again, the difference between then and now is amazing.
The total budget in 1906 was was $34K which included Street Maintenance, Water & Lights, the Parks, Library and General Fund. It’s impossible for this author to compare each line item with the similar fund today, since budgets are tracked differently in 2022 than they were in the early 20th century.
But here are just a few highlights for purposes of comparison.
In 1906 the “General Fund” included a total budget of $3,900 for the entire year. In 2023, the General Fund proposed budget is $13,615,661. Mathematically that means in 2023, the entire 1906 General Fund budget would be spent in two and a half hours. Yikes!
The “Library Fund” in 1906 totaled one thousand six hundred dollars ($1600). In 2022, the Kalispell Library budget was just over $2M. Doesn’t that just boggle the mind? In 7 hours in 2022, the entire 1906 budget would have been spent.
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