Bozeman City Hall

A look at Bozeman City Hall on Rouse Avenue.

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Bozeman is moving forward with some tweaks to a proposal to consolidate its citizen advisory boards.

After introducing the proposal in May that would have formed six super-boards, Mayor Cyndy Andrus and city staff worked on changes to it. A new proposal includes five super-boards and leaves more existing boards independent.

It also keeps a handful of rarely convened boards, like the Building Board of Appeals.

Several boards, like the Gallatin City-County Board of Health, are formed through interlocal agreements and will remain untouched by the proposal.

Though many advisory board members support aspects of consolidation, specifics of the original proposal raised concerns for some.

The new proposal is intended to address some of those concerns, including keeping the Historic Preservation Advisory Board separate from the Community Development board, which includes the planning, zoning, design review and impact fees boards.

Under the original proposal, most members of the community development board would have been required to have historic preservation interest, competence of knowledge, since that board was proposed to be included with the development super-board.

Other changes include keeping the Library Board independent and taking out the Building Board of Appeals, the Fire Board of Appeals, and the Police Commission from the super-board structure.

Since those boards rarely meet, the mayor could serve as liaison should the occasion for a meeting arise, Andrus said.

Along with the Library and Historic Preservation Advisory boards, the Ethics Board, the Interneighborhood Council, the Downtown Urban Renewal District and the Transportation Coordinating Committee would remain independent. The other urban renewal districts would be combined into one board.

Under the new proposal, there would be five super-boards:

  • The Community Development board would include planning, zoning, design review and impact fees;
  • The Economic Vitality board would include community housing, diversity, equity and inclusion and economic development;
  • The Sustainability board would include climate, beautification, and the recreation aspect of the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board;
  • The Urban Parks and Forestry board would include the tree and cemetery boards and the parks aspect of the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board;
  • The Transportation Board would include parking, the Pedestrian Traffic Safety Committee and the Bozeman Area Bicycle Advisory Board.

Officials are also looking into the proposal to put term limits on the board members after hearing feedback that “one size does not fit all,” City Manager Jeff Mihelich said.

Some boards may still keep the proposed two, two-year term limits, while others may have two, three-year terms.

Mihelich views the term limits as a way to promote diversity and inclusion since the same people won’t be able to sit on the board for years and years, but City Commissioner Christopher Coburn suggested the city also develop specific metrics to ensure or promote diversity and equity on the boards.

Commissioners have also suggested setting a timeline to review how the consolidated boards are working.

The city commission will have to approve all changes to the board structures in ordinances or resolutions, which are slated to come back before it in August.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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