Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Commissioners place justice center bond on ballot


August 14, 2019

Pictured is an artist rendering of the proposed Law and Justice Center. Courtesy photo

The Gallatin County Commissioners voted 3-0 Monday to place a $59 million bond to replace the current Law and Justice Center on the November ballot. The new county facility would house the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, Victim Services, Justice Court, District Court, Youth Court, County Attorney's Office, records and the Clerk of District Court's Office.

Gallatin County Commissioner Scott MacFarlane said Tuesday the new Law and Justice Center is only for county business. He also wanted to clear up any confusion with the new Public Safety Center that was approved by City of Bozeman voters last November and said the proposed center will only house offices that serve all residents of Gallatin County.

MacFarlane said the building was originally a school and when the county took possession of the location, they knew they would need to build a more appropriate facility. County officials feel the building has long outlived its purpose and greatly needs upgraded for the safety of citizens and the people who work there and will fit the needs of the growing community for decades to come.

MacFarlane addressed safety concerns in the current location and said it is one of the biggest components of the new facility. He said when the Sheriff's Office is transporting someone in custody in the current site they have to walk by the public and possible victims in the hallway and this is not ideal for anyone.

Commissioner Scott MacFarlane

The new Law and Justice Center would include four District Court courtrooms, and unfinished space that can later be turned into a fifth District Court courtroom. There are currently only three District Court courtrooms and no space for an additional judge.

The annual estimated tax for the bond for a home valued at $200,000 would be $34.10. County officials have stated this number would decrease over the years as Gallatin County grows and there are more taxpayers to share the responsibility to pay for the center.

MacFarlane said a similar bond has failed twice in the past and they will be getting out in the public soon to share more information about the issue and clearing up any confusion with the bond issue passed by voters in Bozeman.


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