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Bozeman commissioners vote Thursday on $68 million Law and Justice Center ballot

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The price tag for a new Law and Justice center in Bozeman is set for more than $68 million.   

On Thursday Bozeman city commissioners will vote on what language to use for the November ballot when asking voters to fund $20 million of the project.

For the average home owner in Bozeman, the new building will run them an extra $60 a year in property taxes, and for those living in the county, it's about $50 a year.    

With the city agreeing to pay one-third of the total, voters would have to agree to this tax hike for the next 20 years.  

On the November ballot Bozeman voters will decide whether to raise taxes to build a new law enforcement building and a new court building where the current law and justice center stands. Years ago this building was actually a school.   

For Bozeman voters who support the tax increase, they say the price is worth it to give courts and cops the tools they need.

"Because our towns growing we need our cops, our law enforcement to grow. I think that's important. To keep everybody in order we definitely need more space," said Candis Thompson, who lives in Bozeman.

However, other voters say the tax increase would be just one more thing to pay for.

"Just the taxes are getting too much for me right now. They say only a little a month but then when you add that times 12 months, so it's getting pretty hard you know, with the other expenses," said Eric Reier, a Bozeman native. 

While several judges and law enforcement officers who work here say the place is falling apart, voters have mixed reactions about whether police can continue using the building. 

"I believe they can. I believe they might be doing something wrong but I'm not in it," said Reier.

"I think it's old and it is falling down and they definitely need space," said Thompson.

The city manager for Bozeman says voters from both the city and county would have to agree to property tax increases. If either group of voters votes no, the new law and justice center will fail.

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