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Gallatin, Madison counties announce new Big Sky emergency management agreement

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EBS STAFF

Gallatin and Madison counties announced Friday an interlocal agreement that consolidates emergency services under the Gallatin County Emergency Management Program.

Gallatin County moving forward will provide emergency management services, wildfire protection and a hazardous materials response team for the pocket of Big Sky that sits within Madison County’s boundary, according to the release issued Friday afternoon.

“(It’s) formalizing some stuff that’s already been happening,” said Patrick Lonergan, chief of Gallatin County Emergency Management and Fire.

Under the agreement, Madison County will pay Gallatin County $47,374, which is the equivalent of one mill of Gallatin’s portion of the Big Sky Fire District, said Whitney Bermes, communications coordinator for Gallatin County.

With the agreement, residents and workers in the Madison County portion of Big Sky no longer have to wonder which emergency management department to call, what plan to follow or what mass communication service to subscribe to—it all falls under Gallatin County.

“It’s clean, it’s simple,” Lonergan said. “Less confusion for all people involved.”

Members of the Big Sky community will have an opportunity to hear from the emergency services team during Big Sky Community Week. A virtual panel discussion is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.

The new arrangement allows for more efficient and closer coordination of public safety functions, since all other public safety functions in the area are handled by Gallatin County, the release states.

The agreement runs for three years and will automatically renew thereafter, documents show.

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