1906 Kalispell Ordinance: Annual Appropriations

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

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.

And there you have it, another blast from the past of Kalispell Montana. I wonder what I'll find the next time I peek into the Kalispell Ordinances?

As always if you have any real estate related questions, feel free to give me a call on 406-270-3667 or email me at kat@thehousekat.com.

Originally published at thehousekat.com.


Comments (19)

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's really interesting!  It looks like the bureaucrats can vote for higher pay for themselves, and of course as the population grows they have more to do.

Jan 18, 2023 02:20 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 - I am not sure what's behind the pay - it could be exactly as you say!

Jan 18, 2023 06:28 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kat Palmiotti I expected the salaries difference 1909 and 2023 to be much higher.

Jan 18, 2023 02:30 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I was surprised as well George Souto !

Jan 18, 2023 06:28 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Oh how interesting Kat. I too am noticing the salaries and the importance placed on these titles!

Jan 18, 2023 03:12 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Right, Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 ?? What's behind those increases/not so increases?

Jan 18, 2023 06:28 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Kat,

I'm so glad you are digging up this information on ordinances in Kalispell! Really interesting to see how much the Library and General Fund increased from 1906 to 2023. Not a surprise at all with the cost of living now. I'm actually surprised the salaries have not gone up more. Thank you for finding this all out..always good to look back....interesting statistics!

Jan 18, 2023 04:09 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Me too Dorie Dillard Austin TX - I'm surprised some of those salaries are not higher today.

Jan 18, 2023 06:29 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

So interesting, Kat. In 1906, the average American worker earned $200-400 per year. So professions that paid two to four times that must have been very coveted.

Jan 19, 2023 04:25 AM
Kat Palmiotti

I agree Nina Hollander, Broker !

Jan 19, 2023 04:53 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Salaries have certainly increased quite a bit over the years but sadly they still haven't kept up with the ever-increasing cost of living, haha.

Jan 19, 2023 05:36 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Good morning Brian England !

Jan 19, 2023 06:32 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is definitely interesting information to share with area residents.

Have a great day and a very productive week.

Jan 19, 2023 06:02 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Roy!

Jan 19, 2023 06:32 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Wow, the Mayor and Alderman have really been given a big raise...lol. I love area history.

Jan 19, 2023 08:58 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Indeed they did get big raises, Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty - at least in terms of %s!

Jan 19, 2023 09:03 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

The officers and Judges would have been more important in 1906 as someone had to control those speeders.

Jan 19, 2023 01:48 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Haha, Ed Silva - true! I hadn't thought of that. It wouldn't have been hard to catch the speeders!

Jan 19, 2023 01:56 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kat, 

This is such an interesting comparison.  It makes me wonder how it would compare to another small town back in 1906 in another state.  How similar or different might they be.  I found the most interesting is City Clerk.  That position was less than a policeman back in 1906 and a whole lot more today. 

Jan 19, 2023 01:56 PM
Kat Palmiotti

That's an interesting thought Sheri Sperry - MCNE® . I just did a quick internet search and found a city clerk in New Haven Connecticut a year after this data made $3,000 per year compared to the city clerk in Kalispell who made $500 per year. Yikes.

Jan 19, 2023 03:40 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Kat- this information is so much fun to read. And yes, it's also interesting to see the priorities the area had. 

Jan 19, 2023 04:40 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Kathy Streib - I'm having fun learning more about my area!

Jan 20, 2023 04:32 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat, it IS interesting, and how fast the bottom few positions increased LOTS faster than the top positions.

Jan 20, 2023 02:08 PM
Kat Palmiotti

My thought exactly Joan Cox !

Jan 20, 2023 02:58 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - interesting  but sad that Firefighters are getting top wages. I've been to Glacier National Park when fires were burning down the trees. Nobody puts their life at risk and protects the land as good as Firefighters. I'm guessing Glacier National Park stimulates the economy and it's the primary reason why people move to Montana and want to live there forever.  

Jan 20, 2023 03:31 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - Hello! I'm thinking Glacier only helps the economy in the very NW part of the state. In other parts of the state there are other reasons to move here. That being said, I totally agree regarding firefighters. I don't know what we would do without them.

Jan 20, 2023 06:10 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kat and interesting blog by you once again to share with us here in the Rain.  Hope you have sunny skies today!


Jan 22, 2023 10:16 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Will Hamm - thank you for your good wishes! Today was cloudy and flurrying.

Jan 22, 2023 12:58 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Local information, history, cover it all in the copy, images, video presentation Kat Palmiotti ! You are doing that consistently!

Jan 23, 2023 05:59 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573 for your support!

Jan 23, 2023 06:40 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Monday morning, Kat.

Have a great day and a very productive week.

Jan 23, 2023 07:58 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Roy!

Jan 23, 2023 12:26 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Interesting data and history. I was a little surprised at some of the current salaries and the differences among these various roles both today and 117 years ago.


Jan 23, 2023 04:01 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I was surprised as well Jeff Dowler, CRS !

Jan 23, 2023 04:02 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

This is so interesting and fun Kat!  I like to look back and wonder what things were like back when......  I'm on a FB group for my hometown in MN and it's a kick reading and seeing the photos from years ago.  Nobody has done any comparisons like you're doing and that would be really a cool idea.  I too found it interesting the pay difference is some of the jobs.....to now.  Clearly they value some a whole lot more now or maybe they just became a lot more technical and require higher skills?  I don't know.  Keep these fun history posts coming Kat Palmiotti !

Jan 24, 2023 03:16 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I will Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker - I'm having fun learning about my area!

Jan 25, 2023 04:15 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Thank you for sharing those great comparisons from 1906.  Kalispell is lucky to have you Kat…

Jan 25, 2023 11:31 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Awww, thank you Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS !

Jan 25, 2023 11:54 AM