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Three Forks City Council renews contract with Gallatin County Sheriff's Office

The Three Forks City Council voted last week to renew a five-year contract with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement services in city limits.

The contract that will begin on July 1, 2023, and end on June 30, 2028, will see a five percent increase in payments to the Sheriff's Office after the $356,400 fee for the fiscal year 2024. The fee schedule is $370,656.00 for FY 2025, $385,482.24 for FY 2026, $400,901.53 for FY 2027, and $416,937.59.

As part of the agreement, Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer will provide dedicated and priority police protection services with his deputies' equivalent to the staffing of three full-time equivalent police officers whose primary responsibility will be to provide police protection and law enforcement inside the corporate limits of Three Forks and a community ordinance compliance officer one day per week. The agreement acknowledges the Sheriff will continue to actively seek and employ deputies in the west end of the Gallatin Valley, including the Three Forks area. The agreement also includes the Sheriff scheduling two deputies in the service area of Three Forks for the Saturday through Tuesday night shift of 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Before the vote, City Attorney Susan Swimley said the agreement would provide a stable income for the Sheriff's Office and also helps with this end of the county.

In other business, the Council unanimously voted for a mail-only ballot for the upcoming General Election on November 23. As part of the motion, the Council agreed to have a mail drop-off box for the election.

City Clerk Crystal Turner said that while people think city hall is a polling place, they have not had a non-mail election in a while. Turner told the governing body she talked with Gallatin County Elections Administrator Eric Semerad, who said 80 percent of people are signed up to get absentee ballots.

Council member Brooke McLees said she is all for the mail-only ballot but wanted a drop-off box at City Hall.