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Gallatin County and Bozeman ready to get back to work after Oak St. lawsuit

Posted at 8:41 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 10:41:35-05

BOZEMAN - The legal dispute between the City of Bozeman and Gallatin County regarding the multi-million dollar Oak street improvement project is finally settled, and now both sides are ready to get back to work.

“Getting this lawsuit behind us is a relief, it packs it away and allows us to concentrate on the things that we were elected to do,” says Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham.

The lawsuit makes Gallatin County pay $904,425.65 which the City of Bozeman says is a fair share of the $6 million project, and the County has already paid around $618,028.71 under protest.

“It won't raise anyone's taxes, it just reallocates taxes to a different purpose," says Gallatin County Commissioner Joe Skinner.

Skinner says the money is being reallocated from open space.

“Something that has been upsetting for me is that money comes out of open space money which could've- that's almost $1 million - could have been used for conservation easements,” says Skinner.

So while a direct cost to taxpayers won't be seen, it's those reallocations where taxpayers may notice.

“Cost associated with these actions will be footed by either Gallatin County or Bozeman residents so unfortunately the taxpayers were involved in that,” says Cunningham.

The court awarded the city partial attorney fees which were just over $46,575.35.

Both the County and the City agree they are glad this lawsuit is finally behind them

“We're going to work professionally on everything else that we work on and this isn't going to affect our business relationship,” says Skinner.