Open space bond denied spot on November ballot - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Open space bond denied spot on November ballot

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Trust Conservation Finance Director, David Weinstein Trust Conservation Finance Director, David Weinstein

In a meeting that lasted more than five hours on Tuesday, the Gallatin County Commission voted not to put the Trust for Public Land’s open space bond in front of voters on the November ballot.

The open space question would allow voters to decide on a $15 million dollar bond that the Trust would use to protect and preserve local land and trails.

The Trust needed all three commissioner votes to get the bond on the ballot, and only received two of those votes.

Commissioner Steve White voted against putting the bond before voters in order to focus on building a new Law and Justice Center.

And while it isn’t the decision that he was hoping for, Trust Conservation Finance Director, David Weinstein, said he understands the Commissioner’s position.

“I think all three of the commissioners are supportive of the open lands program, but Commissioner White and the County Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff's Office and others are all rightfully concerned about public safety, and I think we’re all concerned about public safety,” said Weinstein.

The public has voted for the open space program in the past, and now Weinstein hopes to eventually bring it back.

“Voters invested in the years 2000 and 2004 on this program, and so we’ve got a good history of success to look backward at, and this $15 million dollar [investment] would allow safe conservation efforts along those lines moving forward,” Weinstein said.

While they may not have all of the commissioner’s votes just yet, the Trust remains hopeful after conducting a community poll last month which showed that two-thirds of the community would vote for the bond.

The Trust hopes to regroup and push forward in aiming to protect the communities water, wildlife and way of life.

“We all have a number of reasons why we live here, and the likelihood is that one of those reasons has to do with natural beauty, clean air, the clean water, the wildlife habitat, and the agricultural heritage. So, we’re proud to reap the benefits of the investment that Gallatin County voters have made in the past, and we want to make sure that we continue to make those investments for future generations,” said Weinstein.

The trust can still try a citizen’s petition to get its program on the ballot, but Weinstein said they have no plans to do so.

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