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Tax bills include SID assessment

The newest Gallatin County tax bills include the first per-parcel assessment of $195 for the City of Three Forks Jefferson River Floodplain Mitigation Project.

In 2022, the Three Forks City Council passed a resolution of intent to create Special Improvement District #34 and selected a per-parcel assessment method to help cover the costs of the project that will use a grass-lined conveyance channel and culvert crossing improvements to reduce flood risk from the Jefferson River.

City of Three Forks officials have been meeting monthly with FEMA to follow up on the status of a $4.15 million grant that would fund 75 percent of the project, estimated at $5.5 million. City Clerk Crystal Turner said FEMA is still working on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks assessment of the project’s environmental and cultural hazards, and they anticipate an actual grant award in December.

The remaining 25 percent of the project will be funded through the SID #34. In April, the Three Forks City Council unanimously voted to apply for a loan with 2.5 percent interest from the State Revolving Fund. The city will use the SRF funding for the SID and to purchase easements needed for the project. City officials say the municipality needs interim financing through a Bond Anticipation Note to purchase the easements.

An annual maintenance fee per parcel was not included in this year’s tax bill. Turner said they will not assess the maintenance fee until the channel is constructed, and they anticipate a cost of $20 a year in perpetuity.

According to Great West Engineering’s technical memorandum, the maintenance fee would cover costs associated with routine mowing and weed control to ensure the channel maintains the required capacity for flood protection.