Montana State University

Local Government Center

Montana State University
P.O. Box 170535
Bozeman, MT 59717-0535

Tel: (406) 994-6694
Fax: (406) 994-1905
Location: 235 Culbertson


Dan Clark

Program Coordinator:

Ashley Kent

Local Government Center


The Local Government Center offers the following publications for download or purchase. Publications that are available online can be downloaded by clicking on the title of the publication. For instructions on obtaining publications that are not available electronically, please read our How to Order section.

Recent Publications

Montana Policy Review
Janelle Booth and Paul Lachapelle, Editors.
The Spring 2014 issue, titled Developing Leadership at All Levels, examines past, current, and future efforts to promote leadership development across Montana.  Articles feature ideas and initiatives that address the need to establish and cultivate leaders while identifying opportunities and challenges with various models.


The Montana Municipal Officials Handbook - Second Edition
Kenneth L. Weaver, Editor.
Recently updated with 2013 MCA and a chapter on Land Use Law, Part I of the Montana Municipal Officials Handbook provides essential information on defining and governing the municipality, human resource management, budgeting, financial management, property and contracts, and citizen participation in local government. The 3-ring binder handbook contains 181 pages with tabs for easy reference. Part II is a procedures manual written by Montana’s clerks, treasurers and finance officers for their peers. The 78 page manual includes chapters on council procedures, administrative duties, licenses and permitting procedures, updated public records management information and budget and finance. » Click Here to view Part I Table of Contents.
2014.ORDER FROM MSU EXTENSION. Cost $35.00 + shipping


Governing Montana at the Grass RootsThe 2013 Montana Public Lands Guide
Paul Lachapelle and Dan Clark.
Developed through a partnership between the Local Government Center and Montana Association of Counties, this updated 2013 Edition presents current political and economic information on public lands in Montana.  This document provides an overview of public lands in Montana with descriptions of various state and federal revenue compensation programs including Montana’s Entitlement Share Program, State Trust Land Program, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs, as well as details on numerous Federal public land laws such as the Taylor Grazing Act and Mineral Leasing Act. Included are 12 tables (with county-by-county revenue figures) and 5 maps (including a color map showing all state and federal lands).


Governing Montana at the Grass RootsMontana Policy Review
Janelle Booth and Dan Clark, Editors.
The Fall 2012 issue, titled Community Responses to Energy Development, addresses community efforts to mitigate the changes taking place in oil country. Articles recognize the challenges and complexities of natural resource development while accentuating positive, forward-looking responses, as well as lessons learned from communities that have already weathered the energy boom and recommendations for those on the fringe of development.


Governing Montana at the Grass RootsMontana Policy Review
Janelle Booth, Linda Reed, and Dan Clark, Co-Editors.
The Spring 2012 issue, titled Sustaining Montana Communities Through Philanthropy, examines the various challenges and opportunities regarding the transferable wealth that may be leaving the state in coming years.  Montana faces a tremendous opportunity to capture some of this wealth and direct it towards building communities and creating programs to help them flourish.  The articles focus on overviews of community foundations and philanthropic organizations, strategic partnerships between the federal government and charitable groups, inheritance laws and upcoming policy changes, factors and motivations behind charitable giving in rural and urban Montana, and inspiring stories of successful philanthropy in communities across the region and throughout the U.S.

Governing Montana at the Grass RootsMontana Local Government Board Handbook: A Guide to Serving on Boards, Districts, Commissions and Committees
Paul Lachapelle, Editor.
A 75-page resource for people supervising, serving on or interested in public boards across the state. This updated and expanded handbook covers municipal, county, and cross-jurisdictional boards as well as special districts; among the topics covered are Montana's open meetings law, code of ethics, board liability, effective meeting techniques, and leadership and team building skills.

Governing Montana at the Grass RootsMontana Policy Review
Paul Lachapelle, Cathy Costakis, and Dan Clark, Co-Editors.
The Fall 2011 issue titled Community Resiliency and the Built Environment: Innovations and Policy Issues in Montana focuses on how the built environment influences quality of life and economic prosperity across Montana.  The built environment refers to the human-made physical structures and supporting infrastructure that provide the setting for human activity.  In Montana, these surroundings shape our economic, social, environmental, and public health outcomes.   The articles provide the most complete analysis to date of built environment initiatives from the people who have designed, developed, and delivered the programs and plans. 

Governing Montana at the Grass RootsMontana Policy Review
Paul Lachapelle and Dan Clark, Editors.
The Spring 2011 special issue titled Montana Horizons: Program Outcomes and Policy Implications focuses on an on-going community leadership program aimed at reducing poverty in rural communities experiencing significant decline or demographic change. The articles describe Horizons from the people who coordinated or actively participated in the program.  With personal insights and professional learning and wisdom, the stories, narratives, and academic articles provide the most complete analysis to date of this program from the people who delivered it; a program that many will attribute to wide-spread and positive community change. 


Governing Montana at the Grass RootsFiscal Year 2010 Municipal Salary and Benefits Survey
Dan Clark and Steven Swinford, PhD.
The Local Government Center and Dr. Steven Swinford, Associate Professor of Sociology, conducted an Employee Salary and Benefits Survey for Montana's cities and towns for Fiscal Year 2010. The survey results are now available online in four PDF documents. The first includes all of the data, the second includes the data on class 1 and 2 cities only, the third includes only the data on class 3 cities, and the fourth includes only the data on towns.


Governing Montana at the Grass RootsGoverning Montana at the Grass Roots: Local Government Structure, Process and Politics (Updated 3rd Edition, Based on 2009 Legislation)
Kenneth L. Weaver and Paul R. Lachapelle.
The authors examine the architecture, politics and needed reforms of Montana's local governments in the context of the American federal system and Montana state government. Included is a critical analysis of the Montana political system and a detailed description of how local politics shape the policy decisions of county and municipal officials. Other chapters detail local taxes and finances, typical functions of county and municipal governments and special districts, community development strategies and self-government powers. Also includes the U.S. and MT constitutions.
» Click Here to view Table of Contents.
2010. ORDER FROM MSU EXTENSION. Cost: $15.00

Montana's Local Government Review Montana's Local Government Review (Revised Edition 2008)
Kenneth L. Weaver and Judith A. Mathre.

This work documents the recommendations and electoral outcomes of every county and municipal Voter Review study commission for all four cycles of Montana's local government review. Also included is an analysis and comparison of local government forms, functions and powers as well as sample charters for each type of local government.
2008. ORDER FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENT CENTER. Cost $25.00 + $3.00 shipping/handling.

How to Order

If a publication is available online, click on the hyperlink of the publication title to download the document. If a publication is not available online, you can order it from us by:

  1. Sending an email to Please include:
    1. Your first and last name.
    2. Your affiliation.
    3. Your mailing address.
    4. The title of the publication(s) and the number of copies you would like to order.
  2. Giving us a call at 406-994-6694. If no one is available, please leave a message with:
    1. Your first and last name.
    2. Your affiliation.
    3. Your mailing address.
    4. The title of the publication(s) and the number of copies you would like to order.

Prices and shipping costs are listed for each publication. An invoice will be sent with your order. Payment can be made by check or cash. CREDIT CARDS NOT ACCEPTED.

Municipal & County Data

Fiscal Year 2007 County Salary and Benefits Survey
The Local Government Center and Dr. Steven Swinford, Associate Professor of Sociology, conducted an Employee Salary and Benefits Survey for Montana's County governments for Fiscal Year 2007. The survey results are now available in a 50-page spiral bound book. June 2007. ORDER FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENT CENTER. Cost: $15 plus $3 shipping & handling.

City Attorney Survey
Survey Regarding the Employment Status of Montana's City Attorneys. During a May 2006 meeting of Montana's mayors, the Local Government Center was asked to conduct a statewide survey about the employment of city attorneys. 101 out of 129 municipalities responded.

Montana Local Government Profiles
A comprehensive data base describing the demographic, fiscal and structural characteristics of each unit of local government in Montana. Profiles are published in January each year and distributed without charge to every legislator, all units of local government and all public libraries in the state. The data base also serves to track indicators of change in the fiscal health of local government and is an invaluable research aid to academic and governmental researches. VIEW ONLINE.

Montana Policy Review

Montana Policy Review reports the results of the applied research programs sponsored by a variety of state and local government agencies and conducted by the Local Government Center. The Montana Policy Review is published by the Center twice yearly and circulated without charge to every unit of county and municipal government, all legislators and every public library in the state.

Spring 2007: Interoperability Montana
The Local Government Center proudly presents the lastest edition of the Montana Policy Review. Focused on the Interoperability Montana project, this issue of Montana Policy Review is intended to inform stakeholders of the progress of Montana’s interoperability development.

June 2006 Special Edition: The Montana Mayor's Academy

Spring 2006: The Political Process and Reform in Montana

Spring 2005: MSU Extension in the 21st Century
This issue deals with MSU Extension in the 21st Century.

Summer 2004: Creating a Culture of Ethics and Integrity in Montana's Law Enforcement Community

Fall 2003: Montana's Boards of Health in Action.

Fall 2002: An Introduction to Montana's Public Health System.
This issue deals with policy, issues, concerns, and the history of public health in the state of Montana.

Winter 2002: Land Use and Growth Policies.
Includes articles on land use planning, growth management, making growth pay for itself, federal cropland protection, dealing with fires in Montana's wildland urban interface.

Fall 1998: Where Do We Go From Here.
Deals with issues of tax reform, CI-75, resort taxes, implementation of CHIP, and trends in Montana local government.

Spring 1998: Welfare Reform: A Progress Report.
Includes articles on Child Care Capacity, CHIP, School Lunch Program, Mean Spirited Politics, and the New West Boom Towns.

Fall 1997: Patterns for Change.
Includes articles concerning patterns for change; local government review, fiscal impacts of alternative development patterns, welfare reform, and property tax trends in Montana.

Spring 1997: The Property Tax Puzzle.
This issue deals with property taxes and school finances, equalization, taxes from an agricultural perspective and the property tax freeze and other proposals.

Fall 1996: Welfare Reform: The Montana Situation.
Topics include reform issues facing Montana, tracking success, block grants, FAIM, welfare reform capacity of county government, Not-for-Profit's viewpoint, and time for action.

Spring 1996: Land Use: Public Decisions and Private Rights.
Fiscal impacts of different land uses; Ecosystem Management and Planning; Devolution; and Governing use of Natural Resources.

Fall 1995: A Sense of Community.

Fall 1994: A Time for Fiscal Reality.

Spring 1994: Geographic Information Systems.

Fall 1993: Building a Brighter Future.

Spring 1993: Tax Reform.

Spring 1992: Looking to the Future.

Fall 1991: Issues and Opportunities.

Spring 1991: Welcome Issue.

Other Publications

January 1994: Indian Gaming: Players and Stakes.
Dr. Franke Wilmer.
This publication addresses Indian gaming as an economic activity as well as a tradition of many Native American societies. New challenges to Indian sovereignty and jurisdictional disputes involving federal, tribal, state, and local governments are discussed.

January 1996: Costs of County and Education Services in Gallatin County, Montana.
Mark Haggerty.
Paper researches the revenue collected through taxes on different land uses (agriculture, residential, commercial, etc.) and compares this with the costs of providing services to each of these categories. Helps decision makers to understand the relationship between cost and revenue streams and alternative land uses.
January 1996.

January 1996: The Public Participation Process Concerning Land Use Planning Issues: Case Studies of Four Counties
Debra Beaver.
This paper looks at the public participation process in planning that occurred in four growth counties: Gallatin County, Montana; Park County, Wyoming; Teton County, Wyoming; and Teton County, Idaho. Guidelines developed from their experiences as to what works best to include the public in the planning process.

Fiscal Impacts of Alternative Development Patterns: Broadwater and Gallatin Counties, MT.
Mark Haggerty.
Paper details two county fiscal impact studies in Southwest Montana. In both studies the findings are clear: farmland and open space provide local governments with a surplus of revenue from property taxes and other revenue sources while residential development drains local government coffers.
October 1997.