For immediate release: November 16, 2021
Gallatin County District Court Judge Rienne McElyea recently delivered a split decision in the case Gallatin County filed against the City of Bozeman over the cost of improvements to roads around the Gallatin County Regional Park, Oak Street and Ferguson Ave., in Bozeman.
Judge McElyea ruled that the city’s Special Improvement District (SID) 745 was created illegally, but also ruled the county should have challenged the construction contract for the road improvements before construction started in 2017.
As the county’s challenge to the contract was not successful, Judge McElyea ruled the 2002 agreement the county entered into when it bought the Regional Park property required the county to pay the cost of the improvements, which totaled $903,426.65. In the past two years the county has already paid, under protest, $618,028.71, which will be used to satisfy payment of the construction costs.
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said, “In March and April, 2017, the County Commissioners were faced with a very difficult decision – whether to stop a major construction project on Oak Street when the city and the contractor were ready to start construction. I fully understand why they chose not to pursue that course.”
The county and city commissions will consider resolutions next week to wrap up the case. Neither the county nor the city plan to appeal.
Whitney Bermes, Gallatin County Communications Coordinator