By Katie Morrison
On Tuesday June 14, the Gallatin County Commission passed a resolution of
intent to create the Big Sky Meadow Trails, Recreation and Parks Special District.
This resolution is one step toward creating a multi-jurisdictional district encompassing
both the meadow and mountain villages of Big Sky.
Since Nov. 2010, a collaborative group representing numerous Big Sky entities
and residents has worked toward a solution for Big Sky to maintain control of the
parks, trails and recreation in our community. The answer: create a self-funded
multi-jurisdictional park district. In order to accomplish this, both Gallatin and
Madison counties must pass a resolution and an inter-local agreement allowing
a single five-member board to administer the combined district. This district
would benefit Big Sky in numerous ways, from qualifying for additional grant
funding sources, to providing Big Sky with a locally controlled public infrastructure
for parks, trails and recreation.
With the passage of the resolution in Gallatin County, the next step is to present
a similar resolution and inter-local agreement to the Madison County Commission
on June 21, 2011. The Madison County Commission has been in support
of such a resolution up to this point, including a memo to the Gallatin County
Commission stating their support. After both Commissions have passed the
resolution, they must also agree upon an inter-local agreement to administer the
district through a single board comprised of residents from each county.
Gallatin County will also be mailing a notice to property owners within the Gallatin County portion of the district to notify them of a 30-day protest period,
allowing them to make a written protest regarding the proposed program or
improvements in the district, which will be self funded and will not be assessing
fees or taxes. During the 30-day protest period, the Big Sky Community Corporation
(BSCC), along with other partners, will be hosting a public meeting to
answer any questions at noon on July 13, at the Big Sky Chapel. Comments submitted
thus far to Gallatin County have all been in support of the district. Barring
significant protests to the resolution, the Commission will finalize both the
inter-local agreement and resolution, and the district will be officially created.
With questions regarding the Big Sky Park District, or to make a contribution toward
this effort, please contact Katie Morrison, Executive Director of the BSCC,
at email@example.com or (406) 993-2112.