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City of Three Forks seeking comments on draft Capital Improvement Plan

With the working draft of its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) now available online, the City of Three Forks is asking residents for their feedback.

At last week's City Council meeting, the governing body received a presentation on the first draft of the CIP from community and land use planner Lee Nellis. The city will be taking comments on the draft, which is available at http://www.threeforksmontana.us, until April 9. Comments can be sent by email to [email protected] or given in person at the April 9 meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.

The City of Three Forks is working with Great West Engineering to update its CIP, a prioritized list of infrastructure projects with a schedule for the projects and funding sources.

City Planning Consultant Randy Carpenter also discussed the CIP plan at the March 12 meeting and addressed Impact Fees.

Carpenter said they are mostly about planning for growth, and in the case of the CIP, it ensures the community has the infrastructure required to secure growth, adding that the impact fees allow for the growth to pay for itself.

According to Carpenter, it is highly likely Three Forks will experience considerably more growth in the next ten years than in the past ten years. He said Gallatin County is growing a lot, and the growth in Three Forks will be driven mainly by the housing prices in Bozeman and Belgrade.

Nellis told the governing body that nobody should be surprised if Three Forks doubles in size in the next 20 years.

"It's going to change and possibly pretty dramatically," said Nellis. "In order to finance that, you will need to charge impact fees."

Carpenter said the impact fees are a method by which new growth pays for itself, adding once the CIP and Impact Fees are adopted, the city can start looking at a new zoning code.

"It's necessary. It's better to plan for the growth and the way the community wants it," he said.

BACKGROUND

At a meeting in May of 2023, Jerry Grebenc with Great West Engineering told the Council the CIP is critical for budgeting.

"For a community like Three Forks, with all the projects you have going on, whether it is water, sewer, street, flood mitigation, or trails, having an updated CIP should help the City Council make wise budget decisions," he said.

The City of Three Forks has also assembled an Impact Fee Advisory Committee, comprised of volunteers who will work with engineers and consultants to present a recommendation for revised fees to the governing body.

The City of Three Forks has completed a community survey about the update of the CIP. Grebenc said last May the city received 80 responses, which was not stellar but also not atypical because it is hard to get guidance for residents unless they are really excited or angry about something.

Grebenc said residents identified water and sewer as the best improvements the city has made in the last five to ten years, adding that critical things residents want the city to focus on are streets, water, addressing growth issues, and emergency services.

 
 
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