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BOZEMAN (AP) – Commissioners here have voted to proceed with a September vote on a new tax to fund the 911 system, despite concerns that a special mill-levy election is too expensive.

“I realize these special elections are expensive,” Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell told the commission Monday. “But everything we do with growth and public safety is expensive.”

The commissioners voted 2-1 to hold the Sept. 11 special election, which will cost $50,000. Voters will decide whether to approve a new mill levy to raise about $1.3 million a year to operate 911.

Monday’s commission meeting was called at the request of county clerk and recorder Shelley Vance, who wanted to pose the mill-levy to voters on the regular November ballot to save money.

“When you piggyback, you save in publication costs, printing costs,” Vance said. “My advice to county commissions was always to hold your (ballot) questions until the next (regular) election.”

But Cashell argued that a September vote would allow the county time to apply the levy to November tax bills. If the measure were held off until November, no revenue would show up for 18 months because of the timing of the tax notices.

He said while there’s no emergency looming in the center’s operation, he urged the commission to approve the earlier vote.

“We tend to delay all of these decisions,” he said. “The longer we sit on these things, the worse the situation gets.”

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