With all this growth in the Bozeman area, city and county officials are looking to upgrade their law and justice center to accommodate for the larger population. At the discretion of the county’s voters, the construction of a new facility is proposed for $71.5 million. The petitioned project is designed with two buildings, one would be a 61,300-square-foot law enforcement building, and the other would be a 126,000-square-foot courts building. These two structures are intended to replace the current 59,000-square-foot criminal justice system located on College Street.
This $71.5 million bill would be shared with a 30-70 split between the city and county taxpayers. This designation is based on the size of each jurisdiction. Consequently, city taxpayers alone would be responsible for $21.5 million of the cost, while county taxpayers, who include city homeowners, would account for the other $50 million. In other words, over the course of 20 years, an average property worth $240,000 would be projected to see roughly $50 added to its annual property tax, while those inside city limits would share the entire portion of the costs with $108.
The law enforcement facility would be suited to house the Bozeman Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the regional drug task force and SWAT team, while leaving room for storage of evidence and records.
The other larger courts building would house all of the departments of this districts court system, including:
- Gallatin County District Court, with three judges ruling on felony criminal cases and civil legal matters.
- Gallatin County Justice Court, with two justices dealing with misdemeanor crimes that occur outside city limits.
- Bozeman Municipal Court, which, as the name suggests, holds jurisdiction over misdemeanors within city limits.
- Clerks responsible for managing records of each court.
- The county attorney’s office, which is designated for prosecuting cases in the district and justice courts.
- City attorney prosecutors for municipal court cases.
- Youth probation officers, for supervising juvenile offenders.
And last but not least,
- Victim services, where violent crime victims are provided with support.
Once built, these buildings are proposed to provide enough space for 25 to 30 years, and with their design to accommodate for possible expansions, new additions would extend its lifespan to roughly 50 years.