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Gallatin County finalizes Logan Landfill land exchange

Bay Stephens

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GALLATIN COUNTY COMMISSION

After over a decade of work, a land swap between Gallatin County and the state has been finalized, giving the county ownership of the ground the Logan Landfill sits on, and increasing access to public lands for citizens and visitors.

On Dec. 18, Gallatin County Commission Chair Steve White signed closing documents finalizing a land exchange between Gallatin County and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. White was joined by Jim Simon, district manager of Gallatin Solid Waste Management District, and Mike Atwood and Craig Campbell of the DNRC to sign the paperwork at Security Title Company in Bozeman.

As part of the deal, Gallatin County received 636.12 acres of land from the state, and the state is getting 620.13 acres of agricultural land from the county. State land appraised for $647,000 while the county’s land appraised for $708,000.

Included in the state land were 80 acres for permanent landfill easement and 8.81 acres of commercial lease for the landfill’s scale house facility. The county’s land was about half agricultural land and half grazing land.

As per the deal, Gallatin County paid a one-time annuity payment of $18,037.73 to the state.

Gallatin County Commission Chair Steve White pictured signing the land swap closing documents on Dec. 18.

The Montana Board of Land Commissioners gave final approval for the exchange in October.

The county’s land, which abutted the western edge of the Logan Landfill, was purchased in 2009 with plans to eventually buy the rest of the land. Gallatin County has been renting a portion of the landfill from the state.

Now, rather than leasing state land, this critical exchange will put the Logan Landfill on county-owned ground and provide for future growth of the county’s landfill for decades to come.

And importantly, the exchange will also improve access to public lands, creating a contiguous and publicly accessible block of four sections of state-owned land in Gallatin County.

At a public hearing in late November, the commissioners praised White for his work on this project over the years.

“This may be one of his crowning moments,” said Commissioner Joe Skinner.

Commissioner Don Seifert said the move “brings a lot of certainty to the whole county. … Thanks to you, Commissioner, for sticking with it.”

White thanked his partners at the DNRC, the Gallatin Solid Waste Management District and the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office. “This is a big deal,” he said.

The total cost of the project for Gallatin County, which includes purchasing and improving the land, was $1.8 million. It was paid for with landfill operation funds, not taxpayer dollars. White noted that tipping fees at Logan Landfill have not been raised in more than 12 years.

With the close of this land swap, it will be business as usual in Logan as the exchange will not impact day-to-day operations at the landfill.

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