Monday, April 09, 2012

A summary overview of Valier

(Information acquired on the Internet)

POPULATION: 452 with a 9.2% decline since 2000.

232 men, 220 women.

Median age of 42.7 (Compare to Montana median of 37.5

Median household income in 2009 was $33,442 (up from $30,000 in 2000) (Compare to Montana $42.322) NOTE: Household income and assets are probably quite a bit higher in the surrounding territory than inside the town limits, because of wealth being held on ranches.

Median house value in 2009 $91,576 ($56,100 in 2000) (Compare to $176,300 in Montana)

Median gross rent in 2009 $428.

Heat: 91% utility gas, 8% electricity, Propane 2% Wood?(pellets?)


VALIERIAN newspaper:

Owned in Cut Bank, a rival town.

Cost of living index: 86.9

About 80 plus businesses in the area (counting ranches).

Backbone is irrigation, then the grain elevator, construction, local commerce

1.1% are living in poverty (2009) All of them white.

In Valier 8.7% below poverty line as compared to 15.1% in the state.

Below 50% of the poverty line in 2009: 3% as compared to 6.9% in state

Poor people:

Married-couple family (22.2%)

Male, no wife present (33.3%)

Female, no husband present (44.4%)

Poverty rate among disabled males:

Valier: 14.9% (Montana: 17.4%)

Disability rate in this town among poor males

(It is 27.4% among residents who are not classified as poor.):

Valier: 47.6% (Montana: 17.4%)

Poverty rate among disabled females:

Valier: 19.6% (Montana: 22.3%)

Disability rate in this town among poor females

(19.5% among residents who are not classified as poor):

Valier: 50.0% (Montana: 22.3%)

Renting rate in this town among poor and not poor residents:

Residents below poverty level: 50.0%

Residents above poverty level: 16.8%

Average household size is 2.3 (Compare to Montana 2.5)

Percentage that are families: 65%

Percentage of households with unmarried partners 1.4 (Compare to Montana 5)

No reported gay or lesbian households.

Of people over fifteen years old:

19.8% have never married

53.6% are now married

1.3% are separated

12.4% are widowed

12.9% are divorced.

Adult diabetes rate in Pondera County: 8.8% (Compare to Montana 7.2)

Adult obesity rate in Pondera County: 26.8% (Compare to Montana 23.1%)

Low-income preschool obesity rate: 10.6% (Compare to Montana 10.7%)

About a quarter of the population are American Indian.

7 people are foreign born.

85.8% have high school degrees

15.7% have Bachelor’s degrees

1.5% have graduate degrees

As of July 2011 there were 2 registered sex offenders. (One is old and disabled.)

Kinds of jobs:

23% construction

22% accommodation and food services

11% wholesale trade

8% ag, forestry, fishing, hunting

7% real estate, rental and leasing

7% retail

7% health care and social assistance

17.9 is the mean travel time to jobs

4.4 % unemployed

Elevation is 3805 feet. (Possible to grow corn and tomatoes most years.)

6 earthquakes (1994, 1992, 1998, 1990, 1992, 2002) all approx mag 4 and mostly about

seventy miles away.

Four presidential declared major disasters and one declared emergency for a total of 5 as compared to the US average of 12.

3 floods, 2 storms, 1 heavy rain, 1 snow, 1 fire, 1 hurricane, 1 landslide (!!??)

Hospitals a half-hour away. Weekly clinic in Valier. Voluntary EMT ambulance.

Valier Airport: 3 runways, 150 itinerant ops, 1,000 local ops, 50 military ops per year.

Aerial crop dusting moved out of town. Some talk about unmanned drone flights and heightened border patrols. The airport is controlled by Pondera County.

Lake Francis: separated from the town by the airport and a campground. This lake is an irrigation impoundment and managed for the main goal of supporting agriculture. Fishing and boating are secondary. The little island is posted to protect birdlife.

High school: 79 kids

Elementary and middle: 98

Kingsbury Colony satellite: 10 kids, K-8

CHURCHES: United Methodist, Lutheran, Jehovahs Witness, St. Francis Catholic, First Baptist.

PARKS: Miller Park in midtown and a corner park on the highway


Sewers: $54,000 ($119.47)


A locally managed partner with the Pondera County library. Local governing board sets policy. Friends of the Library provide financial support for enhancements. The Library Foundation manages the Endowment Fund and the Building Extension Fund. (Present building built in 1968.) Operating income now $62,000 from the general fund. Asking for $69,500 in an upcoming levy election.

13,065 books, active Interlibrary Loan Program (about 800 users a month). 416 audio materials, 512 video materials (many local documentaries), 1 local licensed database (World Book Encyclopedia) available on home computers if registered, 56 state licensed databases, 17 print serial subscriptions. 5 public computers, 3 laptops and 3 Nook ebook readers that can be checked out. Story hours, visiting authors, special events and so on.


Most of the major problems of the town involve infrastructure, especially water and sewer. Pipes are old and breaking. The sewage lagoon is in violation of state standards a couple of times a month. Not all the terrain will naturally drain so needs lift stations, very expensive.

People, for whatever reason, including optimism about the oil boom and perhaps promotion by local real estate and development people, constantly call the town to ask about houses or lots. They want the town to pay for additions to infrastructure and generally will not throw in together to fund a block at a time. We’re talking $50,000 or so.

The other major complaint is streets and sidewalks, which are basic at best. Expect dust in summer, mud and potholes in spring, and mounds of snow in winter. Improving the streets would mean FIRST installing a proper storm sewer system, which would be enormously expensive.

If people have come here chasing the fantasy of Mayberry, USA, it is quickly evaporating, specifically BECAUSE they are moving here. In the SW people moved to the desert for the sake of their hay fever and then immediately began irrigating so they could grow their familiar plants -- bingo! Hay fever.

Another dynamic is that Valier is perceived as being a low-cost, safe place to live, esp. attractive to retirees. But they require more services and do not interact with schools.

The projected oil boom, which may or may not really “boom,” puts the town in the crosshairs of fears of losing out on a chance to regrow the town versus fears of much inflated costs and the breaking of peace and security due to an influx of floaters. Once the exploration is replaced by automated systems, the number of jobs will be much reduced.

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