By Maria Wyllie EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – Three of the five seats on the Big Sky Resort Area District Board of Directors are up for re-election on Nov. 3, and the deadline for public petitions for nominations is Aug. 20.
The Resort Tax Board serves on a voluntary basis and oversees all aspects of collection and appropriation of Big Sky’s 3 percent sales tax on luxury purchases. The board meets monthly, reviews applications, and appropriates funding each June.
Board members Jamey Kabisch, Mike Scholz and Jeff Strickler are concluding their first, four-year terms. Candidate filing commenced on June 22 and closes Aug. 20.
Kabisch plans on running for another term, Strickler will not re-run, and Scholz is undecided, according to Whitney Brunner, RTB’s administrative officer. Scholz will make his final decision after the group’s Aug. 12 board meeting, Brunner said.
However, regardless of what current RTB members and potential candidates have expressed to Brunner, she says they can still change their minds.
“We won’t actually know until everything is submitted on Aug. 20,” Brunner said.
As of EBS press time on Aug. 5, Kabisch has submitted the only petition for nomination, according to the Gallatin County election office, which files the submissions.
RTB members serve a four-year term once elected in the November general election, in odd-numbered years. This prevents full turnover during re-election.
But this January the Montana Legislature passed House Bill 84, which offers new guidelines for special purpose district elections, like the RTB’s. After the November 2015 election, RTB elections will be held in May.
“The bill simplifies the process for both candidates and election administrators throughout the state, in addition to bringing statewide consistency on various election procedures,” said the RTB’s attorney Mona Jamison.
For the winning candidates in November, this means their terms will actually last four years, six months, with terms expiring in May 2020.
Current board members Heather Budd and Ginna Herman’s terms will also extend six months, and they will be up for re-election in May 2018, rather than November 2017.
Interested candidates can find petition nomination forms online at resorttax.org. They must be submitted to the Gallatin County election office, and signatures from at least five registered voters who reside in the Big Sky Resort Area District are required.