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Law and justice price tag set at $71.5 million – BDC

In other news, last night’s City Commission meeting saw an approval to send the new law and justice center to public bond vote in November.  More about the center below….

Law and justice price tag set at $71.5 million

By Troy Carter 6-12-16

After months of preparation, local officials in Bozeman said the price tag on a proposed city-county law and justice center is $71.5 million.

County commissioner Joe Skinner told the Chronicle Monday that he and Bozeman Mayor Carson Taylor approved asking the public to approve a bond sale to pay $68.3 million of the project. The rest will be paid in cash.

“We think the best interest rates are right now,” Skinner said. “Construction costs are going to continue to inflate.”

Skinner also said that he expects the new facility to accommodate the growing community for 20 to 30 years. “Maybe longer,” he said.

But the project is behind schedule by several weeks. “We’re not gonna have a lot of time to show the public the project,” Skinner said. “We’re kind of up against a wall. So we are a little rushed.”

Both the city and county commissions will now need to pass resolutions for the bond vote to proceed. Estimates on how much the project will cost per property owner will not be available until August when the state Department of Revenue informs the county on the amount of taxable property in the county.

County elections chief Charlotte Mills said she needed bond resolutions from the city and county no later than August 15.

But if approved by voters in November, the bond money would be used to demolish the existing building near the intersection of College Street and South 19th Avenue and the construction of two new buildings.

According to county records, the architecture firm Think One in Bozeman has already been paid nearly $1 million with more payments yet to come. Langlas & Associates has been hired as the general contractor.

According to planning documents, a new four-story building would house city and county attorneys, the victim-witness advocate’s office, three district courts, with room for a fourth, the clerk of district court, justice of the peace and municipal, and youth courts, a jury waiting room, plus county storage in the basement.

Across the parking lot, on the same campus, the Bozeman Police Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff would share a new two-story building, which would also contain an evidence storage facility, the morgue, and vehicle storage and maintenance garage.

At Monday’s city commission meeting, the five commissioners unanimously backed the inter-local agreement with the county to see the project move forward, though some grumbled over the price tag.

“I’m going to support this and the bond issue, that’s not an endorsement of the proejct itself,” said Commissioner Jeff Krauss.

Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy, said she’d like to see the cost brought down further.

In 2014, Bozeman voters rejected a $23.8 million municipal courts and police campus bond proposal that city officials had supported for a new cops and courts campus on Rouse Avenue. After it failed, some in the community advocated that the city and county should work together on a joint project that would provide cost savings and solve growth-related issues for the county-related justice departments.

“The bright side is the city’s portion is lower than what it was when they were going it alone,” Skinner said.
Source: Law and justice price tag set at $71.5 million | City |