This June, voters in Three Forks and throughout Gallatin County will get to decide if they'd like to study changing the form of their county government.
The Gallatin County Commissioners recently voted to put a question on the June 4 ballot asking voters if they'd like to establish and fund a study commission to examine Gallatin County government and make recommendations for changes.
The Montana Constitution requires that every 10 years, each city and county government in the state ask their voters whether they want to undertake a review of their local government.
If voters agree to establish and fund a study commission, seven citizens will be elected in a nonpartisan election in November to serve. They will be tasked with studying the existing form, powers and delivery of public services of our county government and compare those with other forms of government available under state law.
If approved, the cost of the study commission would be capped at one half of one mill, which is equivalent to about $360,000.
The last time voters opted to study Gallatin County government was in 1994.
"This opportunity afforded by our state constitution is the only chance we as citizens get to take a hard look at the way our local governments operate," said Gallatin County Commissioner Scott MacFarlane. "Everyone agrees that Gallatin County has many new and different challenges than we had decades ago, and perhaps the tools we use to address those challenges could use an update."
Since the local government review election is for cities and counties, voters who live within city/town limits of Bozeman, Belgrade, Manhattan, Three Forks and West Yellowstone will be presented with the question of whether to hold a local government review election twice (once for the county of residence and once for the city/town of residence.)
For more information on this process, please see https://www.montana.edu/extension/localgov/mtvoterreview/index.html.