BOZEMAN - Voters gave thumbs up to a $29M bond for a new Gallatin County Courts Building and a $6.73M bond for a new Bozeman Fire Station in preliminary results from Tuesday's election. Voters also weighed in on their choice for a new Bozeman mayor.
We’ve been following the numbers all day, with voter turnout, and they’ve gone up incrementally, according to Eric Semerad who is also the clerk, register and surveyor in the county.
With 38.9 percent by noon to over 40 percent in just a matter of hours - now we have the results.
The City of Bozeman, seeing that the fire station bond has passed 67 to 32 percent, is the first of several new projects, including the replacement of the Law and Justice Center.
“I’m grateful if that ends up being the final result,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Zach Brown.
It’s a vote that Brown says he couldn’t believe when he saw it.
“I’m grateful that the community is willing to partner with us with this project," he said. "We didn’t have a very good Plan B.”
The preliminary result at approximately 10 pm was 55.41 to 44.51 percent With 16,798 "yes" votes, vs. 13,518 "no."
“I was feeling a lot of anxiety about what our conversations were going to be tomorrow about how we were going to make space for the fourth judge and how we move forward in a reasonable and sufficient way.”
Voters also picked Terry Cunningham for the new mayor of Bozeman.
"My wife and I moved to Bozeman 23 years ago and we didn’t know a soul," said Cunningham. "To think that 23 years later that I could be possibly elected mayor to the city that I have come to love is more than I could have asked for.”
Meanwhile, the housing mill levy failed preliminary 47 to 52 percent, while fire station number two looks like it will get a new location south of MSU, 67 to 32 percent.
As for the new courts building, Brown says the county's next steps will be discussed this week.
“Our facilities team has a meeting tomorrow with our design and building team,” said Brown.
“We will push the accelerator tomorrow to make sure we put out bids this winter and start construction next spring,” he added.
We'll have more reactions and in-depth coverage on tomorrow's MTN News.
Additional reporting by Edgar Cedillo, Jane McDonald and Ken Spencer.