By Michael Somerby EBS DIGITAL EDITOR
BIG SKY – The Big Sky Resort Area District tax board met on April 8 in the Resort Tax office for its monthly open board meeting. Agenda items included the latest developments for Senate Bill 241, assessing updates and future initiatives for the Big Sky Community Strategic Plan, preparations for resort tax applications and appropriations and welcoming Daniel Bierschwale, the new district manager appointee.
Later in the afternoon on April 8, SB 241 passed a second hearing in the Montana House in a 75-24 vote. On April 9, the bill passed the House in a 71-29 vote and will now be sent to Gov. Steve Bullock’s office for potential signing.
The bill seeks to provide 10 resort communities around the state the option to levy an additional 1 percent resort tax.
The Community Visioning Strategy, called “Our Big Sky,” launched in late February and consisted of one-on-one community member interviews with representatives from the commissioned Logan Simpson consulting firm, as well as the “Polaroid’s and Pints” events held at Gallatin Riverhouse Grill and Beehive Basin Brewery.
According to Whitney Brunner, assistant manager for the board, the next step in the visioning strategy is to compile comments from those that spoke with and submitted thoughts to Logan Simpson representatives and determine salient “visioning statements.”
The statements will be reconciled and reviewed by the community in a series of events set for a late May rollout.
The board is also gearing up for applications for resort tax funding from organizations around the community. The deadline for applications is April 29, with an official appropriations Q&A meeting on June 3.
Daniel Bierschwale, the board’s new district manager, attended the meeting—his first in the role. Bierschwale has lived in Montana since 2007, working for Yellowstone Forever since his move from Minneapolis.
In his role with YF, he helped steward community and business partnerships, and volunteered in an effort to help bring resort tax to Gardiner, resulting in projects such as the Gardiner Gateway Project.
“I’m really excited to be on the ground for this new position, leveraging my past experience,” Bierschwale said. “I’m looking forward to fostering new initiatives in the Big Sky community.”