With all the talk about Bozeman's housing prices, property taxes and the cost of living here in general, a few of us got together over beers to discuss long time residents not being able to afford living here anymore. (Socially distanced, of course.)

IMPOTANT NOTE ABOUT THESE IDEAS: This discussion happened among three long time Bozeman residents that happened to go to Montana State University together. We all graduated with degrees in Political Science. We were trained to propose ideas and solutions to social problems...then tear those ideas apart with pros and cons.

We wanted to find a substantial financial incentive for Gallatin County residents to stay. A reward, if you will, for their longtime commitment to the area. We didn't quite get to the "tear the idea apart" portion. By then we were four beers deep. But I thought it was worth sharing.

OK. HERE'S THE 'BRILLIANT' IDEA THAT WILL NEVER FLY: Give a 1% incentive reduction in property taxes for every year you can prove you've owned your primary residence in Gallatin County. Sort of a "good customer discount".

Newbies would obviously not benefit from this incentive until they made a significant time commitment to the area. TO BE CLEAR: This nutty idea would only apply to primary residences. Not vacation homes. Not empty, uninhabited property.

We also agree this should be a cumulative discount (even if perhaps not feasible.) Meaning, If you've owned 3 different homes as your primary residence over the last 15 years, your property tax discount would be 15%.

Now, before folks start screaming about the cost of rent...we addressed that too before we got too drunk. I'll address that idea in the near future.

OK - have at it. Feel free to shred the idea to pieces or build on it with details that might make it work...

Photo - Michelle Wolfe
Photo - Michelle Wolfe

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