By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

HELENA – A bill that would give the Big Sky Resort Tax Area District bonding authority is in the governor’s office.

The House passed Senate Bill 209, sponsored by Sen. Ron Arthun, R-Wilsall, in the form that it came from the Senate, according to Big Sky Resort Tax Board chairman Les Loble. Gov. Steve Bullock has 10 days to either sign off or veto it.

If passed, SB 209 would allow the Big Sky Resort Tax Board to fund large, long-term projects. A majority vote of the board and voter approval would be required to pass a bond in excess of $500,000, and a 4 out of 5 majority board vote with no voter approval for bonds less than that amount.

If passed, SB 209 would allow the Big Sky Resort Tax Board to fund large, long-term projects. Some of the ideas that have been discussed are a recreational center/concert venue and a more advanced health care facility. The amount pledged annually to repay bonds for such a project could not exceed 25 percent of the average of the previous five years’ resort tax collections.

The new law would apply to all four Montana resort area districts, Big Sky, St. Regis, Craig and Cooke City. Defined as unincorporated areas with a population less than 2,500 where the major portion of the community or area’s economic wellbeing is derived from businesses catering to non-business travelers, each of the four areas has a 3 percent resort tax.