The Gallatin County Commission has agreed to partner with Bridger Aerospace to help the Belgrade-based company improve its firefighting capabilities.

The commissioners voted Tuesday to issue $160 million in industrial development revenue bonds on behalf of Bridger Aerospace. The company will use the money to build two new hangers at the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport, buy five firefighting aircraft, and refinance loans for two previously purchased aircraft.

“This really hasn’t been done before. We haven’t done it before in Gallatin County in this way or on this scale, and probably not in all of Montana,” said Commissioner Joe Skinner said. “… In Gallatin County, we’re always on the cutting edge of doing something different and better, and I think this has some great potential.”

Under state law, government agencies are authorized to issue industrial revenue development bonds.

Proceeds from the sale of the bonds can then be made available to private companies for specific projects.

The private company assumes all the liability related to the bonds, and the bond issuance does not affect the government agency’s borrowing capacity or taxing power.

“We are simply the conduit,” said commissioner Scott MacFarlane.

By working with Gallatin County on its expansion, Bridger Aerospace is gaining access to the municipal bond market.

Read more on this story at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle