As one of the fastest-growing communities with a population under 100,000 in the United States, Bozeman can’t get around growing pains. Maintaining a high level of public safety is one of the key tasks our elected officials are charged with. To make this happen, they need an appropriate work environment to support these efforts. This November, a bond to build a new Gallatin County Law and Justice Center will be on the ballot, and the Board of Directors of the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce has voted unanimously to support this measure.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been down this road. Many people feel the city and county should have built this together. However, the joint proposal was rejected by voters three times. As such, the City of Bozeman forged ahead and is building a new Public Safety Center. It will house the police and fire stations, municipal court, the city attorney’s office, and victim advocate services. This still leaves us with the need for a new law and justice center.
Keep in mind; this is independent of the detention center, which was built in 2010. The Law and Justice Center is home to the sheriff’s office, justice court, the district court, the county attorney’s office, youth court services, victim’s services, and the coroner’s office. The public utilizes the center for things such as concealed weapons permits, marriage licenses, adoptions, divorces, small claims court, and VIN inspections.
The Chamber supports this measure for several reasons:
1. Civil lawsuits are backed up by 18 months to 2 years, hindering the public’s ability to resolve conflicts quickly.
2. Growth in Gallatin County is expected to continue. Current caseloads warrant two additional judges, and without an adequate facility, the chances of these appointments go down.
3. The timing is right for construction. Interest rates are at a historic low, and construction costs are expected to increase. Cost analyses have found the expense of retrofitting to be prohibitive, and the current center does not meet international building code.
There are two opportunities for the public to learn more about the project before ballots being mailed out on October 16, 2019.
A presentation by County Commissioners Scott MacFarlane, Don Seifert, Joe Skinner, will take place Wednesday, October 9, 2019, at Riverside Country Club. For more information, or to register, go to www.BozemanChamber.com, or call 406-586-5421.
A public tour of the current Gallatin County Law and Justice Center is October 10, 2019, at 6:00 pm. The public should meet at the Community Room of Gallatin Count Detention Center, 605 S 16th, directly behind the center for a short presentation before the tour.
The Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recognizes the increasing public demand placed on businesses and homeowners. We feel it is a top priority to build this facility, while economic indicators are favorable.