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Montana counties, towns seek commissioners for local government study

Bozeman City Hall
Bozeman City Hall

Once every ten years, Montana counties, cities and towns have the opportunity to change the structure of their local government.

Voters in Bozeman, West Yellowstone, and Gallatin County approved initiatives this June to study their local governments and seek recommendations for improvements.

This constitutional requirement to revisit the structure of local government every decade is unique to Montana, and was born out of the 1972 Constitutional Convention.

The purpose of this process is to evaluate how local governments have been operating during the past decade and provide alternative options to improve efficiency. The study does not look at policy or review individual elected officials, but focuses on the structure of operations.

On the topic, Montana State University Local Government Center Director Dan Clark said, “For example, our city council is elected at-large and so I know there is some discussion within the community that maybe we ought to evaluate electing people from districts or wards and structuring the city into wards where we have representation from each of those kind of neighborhoods.”

Gallatin County has proposed changes in the past, but has not elected to make the changes. Bozeman last altered its charter in 2004.

With voter approval to conduct these reviews, local governments are looking for members to join the study commission. The filing deadline for interested candidates is August 12. There is no filing fee and elections are non-partisan.
Those interested in viewing a list of candidates who have filed can