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Courthouse renovation proposed under 2021 Flathead County budget

Courthouse West Building.png
Posted at 9:35 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 23:35:30-04

KALISPELL — Flathead County Commissioners have approved their preliminary 2021 budget with public hearing and final adoption scheduled for Sept. 1.

If final adoption for the 2021 budget is approved, taxpayers can expect major renovation work to be done at the courthouse west building. Flathead County Commissioner Randy Brodehl said renovation work will include directing county offices to a more centralized location.

This includes work on the newly purchased Century Link Building, while also renovating courtrooms and court offices in the courthouse west building.

Brodehl says these improvements put the county in good shape to add another judge for district court.

“The number of court cases has been increasing, primarily drug-related, crime-related issues. We think the legislature has us probably first in line for the next judge,” said Brodehl.

In the proposed budget, Brodehl said county commissioners are planning ahead for construction of a new Flathead County Jail in the next 10-20 years.

He said funds put aside under the proposed budget would give the county roughly $45 million for a new jail, if funds held steady for the next nine years

“If we pass the proposed budget, we will be putting about $3.5 million aside just out of this budget year for that project in the future,” said Brodehl.

If the proposed budget is approved, Brodehl says taxpayers with a $200,000 market-value property would see county taxes increase by approximately $4.70.

“We can lower that, we can increase it a little bit, I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do but it’s going to be somewhere in that neighborhood,” said Brodehl.

Brodehl said a vote on the proposed budget will be postponed if changes are made. He expects a final budget to be approved within the next 30 days.