Bozeman commissioners defend votes on Public Safety Center settlement

Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 18:58:43-04

BOZEMAN – Monday night Bozeman’s City Commission voted 4-1 to approve a $22,000 settlement to citizen Roger Koopman to end the 6-month legal battle over the Public Safety Center. Their reasoning for their votes are listed below.

“The bottom line,” said Mayor Cyndy Andrus, “the efforts that we have been trying to do just to get this built because we know it is something that is needed in this community. The longer, every day that it is not built is a day that is wasted and we just can’t afford to waste a lot more days”

“Time is money,” said Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl. “And frankly, the money involved in this, while it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, is exponentially smaller than the amount of money we as taxpayers would lose if this court case moved forward.”

“Three strikes you are out,” said Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy. “We cannot be threatened like this and or other people could be encouraged to do the same thing.”

“I will never speak ill of a citizen from this dais and I will not start today,” said Commissioner Terry Cunningham. “I think this settlement gets us to where we want to be and that is the bottom line. That we can get started with the Public Safety Center. So, I will be voting in support of it.”

“I appreciate the chance to settle this now,” said Commissioner Jeff Krauss. “And to move on and to move on to build the Bozeman Public Safety Building that we have worked very hard, that the citizen’s supported.”

Roger Koopman did not like the remarks that the commissioners said there was no wrongdoing and said it wasn’t about the money but the voter educational process.

“Again I understand that you are not admitting that you have done anything wrong and there is nothing in this settlement that in one degree or another that you haven’t already been doing,” said Koopman. “We wanted some assurances and we wanted some commitment to perhaps make some that process more extensive.”

Now that the settlement has been agreed to, City Manager Andrea Surratt said it can move forward immediately. The city hopes to bid the project early 2020.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News