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Voters to decide on bond to replace Law and Justice Center in Bozeman

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Posted at 12:15 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 14:15:31-04

BOZEMAN — The Gallatin County Commission unanimously voted on Tuesday to put a $29 million bond on the general election ballot this November to replace the county's current Law and Justice Center.

Voters will determine the fate of the bond that would allow for replacing the current center, located in Bozeman, with a new single-story, 57,000-square-foot building that will house:

  • District Courts (including an additional courtroom and space for Gallatin County’s incoming fourth District Court judge)
  • Justice Courts
  • Youth Court
  • Standing Master
  • Clerk of District Court
  • Self Help Law Center
  • Public community room

The estimated cost of the new facility, according to a Gallatin County media release, is $38 million, down from $60 million when a replacement building was proposed in 2019.

The county says current savings for the project will cover around 25 percent of the construction cost at no additional taxpayer expense, and the recent purchase of a new facility for the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office further reduced the cost to the $29 million proposed for the bond.

Property taxes on a home with an assessed market value of $500,000 would increase by $33.50 per year. That amount would decrease each year, however, as more property taxpayers move into Gallatin County.

Commissioners cited safety concerns—including the current facility's compromised structural integrity and lack of a fire suppression system—along with a lack of space and excessively long wait times for court cases as reasons for moving forward with the new bond.

Ballots for the 2021 general election will be mailed on Oct. 13. They will be due back no later than 8 PM on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.