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Gallatin County seeking input for employee housing development

Public meetings scheduled for next week
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Posted at 1:59 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 15:59:09-04

BOZEMAN - Gallatin County officials are looking to use a portion of property owned by the county in Bozeman for future employee housing and a daycare facility - and they are asking the public for input.

The nearly 10-acre property is located between Durston Road and Oak Street, directly north of the Gallatin Rest Home.

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Gallatin County has contracted with HRDC to help come up with plans for how to develop the property and has planned two public meetings for the public to weigh in. The first meeting is set for Monday, May 23, 6:30 pm to 8 pm in person at Bozeman High School's north cafeteria.

The second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, also 6:30 pm to 8 pm, but on will be held virtually on Zoom.

In a press release, the county said the project is currently in the engagement phase. HRDC surveyed county employees to help determine housing and childcare needs, and held town hall meetings with dozens of employees in April to provide updates and solicit feedback. These public meetings with neighbors in the area are another step in the public engagement process.

The rest home property development is one of a number of ways the Gallatin County Commission is working to create employee housing opportunities and help ease the burden of high housing costs in our area. The Gallatin County Commission recognizes housing is an issue for current and prospective employees and is actively trying to address it in different ways.

The county recently put out a request for competitive bids seeking 3-year master leases with area landlords for residential units the county could sublet to employees. The county received no responses to the request. However, commissioners are continuing to work on other ways to secure some rentals for employee housing.

In the short term, commissioners have also worked to improve pay and benefits for current employees. At the beginning of the ongoing budget cycle, commissioners opted to provide wage increases and one-time bonuses to employees for the fiscal year 2023, which will begin July 1.

And in the last couple of years, additional policies that were put into place include paid parental leave, tuition assistance, and remote work and flexible work policies.

The City of Bozeman announced recently that in an effort to address staffing shortages, it would be raising its minimum wage for non-represented positions and summer short-term workers from $15 to $21 an hour effective May 24th 2022 for all included positions. The City of Bozeman is also offering a signing bonus of $1,000 for full-time positions and $500 for part-time positions. According to the city, with this wage increase to $21/ hour, Summer Short Term Workers could earn up to $16,120/ gross over the summer as well as receive training and certifications paid for by the City.