Montana State University

MSU Extension Local Government Center earns national, regional awards

May 21, 2015 -- MSU News Service

Stacey McCullough, at left, the director of the University of Arkansas Public Policy Center, presents the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals’ top education technology team award to Paul Lachapelle, Dan Clark and Ashley Kent of Montana State University Extension Local Government Center. The group received the award this week in Little Rock, Ark., at the NACDEP Conference for their work on new interactive online tool they created to provide information for citizens and public officials. MSU Extension photo.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN - The Montana State University Extension Local Government Center recently earned national recognition for a new interactive online tool it created to provide information for citizens and public officials.

The project earned the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals’ top education technology team award. Creators Paul Lachapelle, Dan Clark, Ashley Kent and Steve Durbin received the award this week in Little Rock, Ark., at the NACDEP Conference.

The Local Government Center (LGC) data project includes demographic, fiscal and structural characteristic information from 1991 to present for all of Montana’s 56 counties and 129 municipal governments. The information can be presented in table or graph form and allows for comparison of select governments, information or years. Specific categories of data include: taxable valuation (mill value); total mills levied, municipal general fund balance; total funds appropriated; road miles; form of government; governing body size; and other categories.

The database was created to increase transparency and trust related to local governments and to improve the ability of citizens to learn about their communities and complex issues associated with governing them. The database is found online at data.msulocalgov.org.

In addition, MSU Extension agents from Jefferson County, Tara Mastel and Tom Harrington, earned NACDEP’s western region team award for Excellence in Community Development for the “Borden Hotel Renovation Project.” Mastel and Harrington collaborated with the Jefferson Local Development Corporation, Rocky Mountain Bank of Whitehall and Barrick Golden Sunlight Mine to establish a new economic center in the downtown area, which had been devastated by fire in 2009.

Together the group raised $1.5 million with strong community support, enabling a renovation of the Bordon Hotel, which was built in 1913 had once been a point of pride, to once again become an anchor. The commercial space in the building has already been filled, including MSU Extension on the main floor. Six of nine apartments are currently occupied, including two vacation style rentals. The project won a local preservation award from the Montana Historical Society in 2015 and was selected by the Governor for the 2015 Governor’s award for historic preservation. 

Contact: Jodie DeLay, (406) 994-2502, jdelay@montana.edu.