City of Bozeman prevails in complaint against Public Safety Center campaign

Posted at 2:54 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 18:12:02-05

BOZEMAN – The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices has decided to dismiss Roger Koopman’s ethics and campaigns practice complaint against the City of Bozeman for their campaign efforts relating to the new Public Safety Center.

The Bozeman Public Safety Center was passed by 60 percent of the voters back in November.

The complaint was filed by Koopman in Gallatin County District Court and was then filed by the City with the Commissioners Office on December 3, 2018.

Now that the commissioner has dismissed the complaint after an investigation looking into if the city violated any campaign practices, the question is, what happens next?

“We take very seriously our responsibility to be transparent and to do things in an ethical way. I believe that this decision by the commissioner of political practices reaffirms that we did everything in that manner and that this decision is something that we can move forward on and hopefully get this building built relatively quickly,” Mayor Cyndy Andrus said.

Having this complaint dismissed is just one of the hurdles the city is jumping over to get the construction of the new public safety center started. This decision will now go to the ethics board and the attorney who advises it. Following approval, the city will then have to file a motion to ask Koopman to dismiss the case in district court.

The city is hoping these decisions will move quickly.

“It did slow us down somewhat. We were able to begin some schematic design of the fire station portion because we already had designs of the police station portion and the court facility. We were able to break up the project into smaller parts and work on smaller bits of design but we will come upon a time very soon where we can’t go any further unless we get a final decision,” City Manager Andrea Surratt said.

With construction and inflation costs on the rise, every month the project is delayed could cost taxpayers approximately $200,000.

“We hope that it will not,” Surratt said. “We are working very hard to keep moving forward on all of the aspects that we can, but it has the potential to affect the cost so we are very concerned.”

We will continue to follow this story and bring you updates online and on the air.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News