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Big Sky Group Opposes Madison Valley Parks and Rec District Proposal

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By Katie Morrison
On December 14, 2010, the Madison County
Commission passed a resolution to order a referendum
election to create a Madison Valley Parks
and Recreation District on the May 2011 School
Board election ballot. The proposed District would
follow the Ennis School District boundary, which
encompasses Ennis, Virginia City and the Madison
County portion of Big Sky. The representatives
who are proposing the District represent multiple
park or recreation groups from the Madison Valley
area. The District would add a maximum tax
rate of 3 mills ($20 annual tax for a home valued at
$400,000).
A group from Big Sky is opposing this District
due to the implications of this District for the Big
Sky community at large; both in Madison County
and Gallatin County. This coalition is made up of
representatives from Big Sky Community Corporation,
Big Sky Owner’s Association, Big Sky
Resort, Moonlight Basin, Town Center, The Club at
Spanish Peaks, Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association,
as well as many other concerned residents.
It is estimated that Big Sky properties in Madison
County would contribute approximately $145,000(80%) of the $183,000 total annual district revenue.
The major concern for this group is that a Madison
Valley Parks and Recreation District will inhibit Big
Sky’s ability to create its own Parks and Recreation
District in the future. Other facts that are issues for
the Big Sky group are:
Access: Most of Big Sky’s public park and recreational
facilities are in Gallatin County, which
may severely limit available funds for these
amenities. The current recreational facilities
within the proposed district are impractical for
Big Sky residents to use due to Jack Creek Road
(the road between Big Sky and Ennis) being a
private road.
Community: The community of Big Sky has
different park and recreation needs than that of
the Madison Valley. Big Sky recreation amenities
serve several hundred thousand visitors
each year as a world-class, year-round destination
resort. The Big Sky assets need to accommodate
not only the Big Sky community, but
also the tourism industry, which drives the
economy.
Economy: The Big Sky community continues
to struggle with difficult economic times. Multiple
large employers have declared bankruptcy
and countless homes are lost to foreclosure.
The rest of Madison County has been going
through the same economic challenges. Due to
the continued adverse economic climate, it does
not seem appropriate to impose a new tax on
the Big Sky community, or the rest of the Ennis
School District, at this time.
History: The community of Big Sky has built a
foundation over the past decade for a parks and
recreation system through the Big Sky Community
Corp., as well as multiple other recreational
groups. The creation of the proposed Madison
Valley Park District, with the current proposed
boundary, undermines Big Sky’s efforts to create
Big Sky park and recreation programming.
Legal: The Madison Valley Park District, as
proposed, would tax Big Sky property owners
disproportionately for the services that they
may receive, even if it is deemed legal to spend
money outside of the District and outside of
Madison County. While the majority of the
money would come from Big Sky, the majority
of control would come from the greater Madison
Valley. katie@bsccmt.org 570-0096
bsccmt.org
If you would like to support the Big Sky group,
please contact the Madison County Commissioners
and ask them to remove Big Sky from the proposed
Madison Valley Park District by January 31, 2011:
Phone: (406)843.4277
Fax: (406)843.5517
Mail: PO Box 278
Virginia City, MT 59755
Email: madco@madison.mt.gov
The BSCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization who’s
mission is to promote, acquire, preserve and maintain
land, parks, trails and easements for the use of the
people of Big Sky and the general public.

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