Option 2: Create the district through a petition process and then a resolution by the County Commissioners

If the county commissioners are not supportive or feel strongly that there needs to be clear interest in the idea of a district they may require you to go through the petition process. If the commissioners require a petition before passing a resolution you will need a petition signed by not less than 15% of the qualified electors who reside within the proposed district. This requirement can be found in MCA 22-1-702. So what does this mean for you? Here is a quick summary of the steps to creating a district when using the petition process.

  • Create petition and then gather the required number of signatures. Warning: due to Montana's Code of Ethics laws it is probably best to NOT have the petition at the library. MCA 2-2-121 provides guidance on public employees and ballot or campaign issues.
  • File legal petition with the county clerk
  • The governing body of the county conducts an open hearing
  • If the governing body views the open hearing results as supportive of a public library district, it adopts a resolution which sets the boundaries, maximum mill levy, and number of trustees for the proposed district, and calls for an election on the question of whether to create the district.
  • An election is held.
  • If a majority of the votes cast at the election approve formation of a district, the governing body of each county with territory included in the proposed public library district shall certify that the district is formed and appoint the initial members of the district's board of trustees.

If you have to go through the petition process you will need the following materials (based on MCA 22-1-702; again this is a summary so please refer to the actual text of the law):

  • Petition
  • A map and description of the boundaries of the district;
  • The maximum mill levy for the proposed district;
  • The number of members you wish to have on the board of trustees; and
  • And whether or not you wish this to be held in conjunction with a regular, primary or mail-in ballot election

So let's tackle each of these in more detail. We will save the petition for last, because it requires information about the boundaries, mill levy, and number of board members.

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