Law and Justice Center File, L&J

The Law and Justice Center is seen here on Oct. 18, 2017.

Gallatin County is narrowing in on the price tag for replacing the Law and Justice Center, which it plans to ask voters to finance as part of the November election.

The commissioners will announce the project cost at a meeting next Thursday. They also will determine how much of the project they will ask voters to fund and how much they will pay for with available county money.

They will then explain the project to the public and provide estimates of how it will affect taxpayers at a hearing on Aug. 6. They will finalize the ballot question at an Aug. 12 meeting.

The new two-story building will be constructed near the current Law and Justice Center and will house the sheriff’s office, justice and district courts, the county attorney’s office, victims services and the clerk of district court.

ThinkOne Architecture has spent the last several months developing designs to accommodate county growth over the next few decades and has met with all the offices that will occupy the new Law and Justice Center to ensure it will meet their needs.

The county has long been working to replace the Law and Justice Center, which it says doesn’t comply with current safety standards and isn’t large enough for its growing needs.

In recent years, Gallatin County and Bozeman considered working together to replace their shared building. The city ultimately went forward alone and received voter approval in November to issue $36.9 million in bonds for a public safety center, which will include the police department, municipal courts, victims services and fire crews.

Although the new city building will free up space in the Law and Justice Center, the county has said that it is not enough and that addressing issues with the current building would be more expensive than replacing it.

The city and county have been asking voters to finance a new Law and Justice Center for years. In 2016, voters turned down a $68.3 million bond for a city-county project and in 2014, they rejected a $23.8 million city-only building.

Financing the Law and Justice Center will be one of two questions the county places on the November ballot. The other question, which commissioners approved in early July, asks voters whether they would like to change county elections from partisan to nonpartisan.

Perrin Stein can be reached at 406-582-2648 or at pstein@dailychronicle.com. Follow her on Twitter @PerrinStein.

Perrin Stein is the county, state and federal government reporter for the Chronicle.

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