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Resort Tax Board clarifies ordinance, seeks public comment

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At an open meeting on Sept. 20, consultant Brad Webb (standing) helped the BSRAD tax board finish making revisions to the ordinance providing for the administration of the resort tax. PHOTO BY JOE O'CONNOR

By Doug Hare EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – On Sept. 20, the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board held an open meeting at the Big Sky Water and Sewer District building in order to finalize the process of collectively revising and amending the ordinance providing for the administration of resort tax funds.

The meeting was facilitated by Bozeman-based consultant Brad Webb, who kept the conversation moving forward when there was not immediate agreement on semantic changes to help clarify ambiguities and remove unnecessary verbiage.

After improving the definitions of keywords such as “enumerated establishments,” “goods and services,” “luxuries,” and “necessities of life,” board members worked to move towards consensus on parts of the ordinance that had caused concern or had not been agreed upon by all board members.

“I just want to take a moment and stress that we are not trying to be burdensome to local businesses and business proprietors,” Secretary Buz Davis said. “We are trying to educate business owners while also making the tax collection process as clear and efficient as possible.”

“I was proud of the board and staff team for taking the time needed to ensure that our community’s best interest and the intent of the ordinance was met with the rewrite,” said Ciara Wolfe, executive director of the Big Sky Community Organization, who was appointed to the BSRAD tax board at the previous meeting.

The interpretation of details at this level can be difficult for any group of individuals to come to a consensus on, however with the support of a facilitator and ample preparation time from everyone involved, I believe this effort will be successful and provide a much clearer direction for staff and tax collectors.”

Wolfe also noted that with the Resort Tax’s community visioning process occurring this fall and hoping to develop a strategic plan for implementation this winter, her background with the BSCO will be a strong asset to the already existing Resort Tax board.

The board will release the revised Ordinance at a public meeting in late September and will seek public feedback on the proposed revisions. Currently BSRAD’s next open meeting is slated for Oct. 9 from 8-10 a.m.

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