Ballots mailed to voters Oct. 16, due Nov. 3
The Big Sky Resort Area District tax board has three seats up for grabs the first Tuesday in November. EBS asked each candidate to submit a short bio introducing themselves to our readers and explain why they should serve Big Sky on the resort tax board.
Incumbents Jamey Kabisch and Mike Scholz are hoping to retain their seats, while Kevin Germain, Tallie Lancey and Grace Young are running for the first time. Sitting board members Ginna Hermann and Heather Budd will be up for reelection in May 2018.
Over the past 10 years, resort tax collections have increased 50 percent to a high of more than $4.1 million in fiscal year 2014-2015. Despite the significant public resources the board appropriates to Big Sky community organizations, voting for these positions has been historically low.
In an attempt to encourage voter turnout, and highlight the issues facing the resort tax board, EBS editors moderated a debate on Oct. 15 at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. A video recording of the event can be found here. – Tyler Allen
I have worked in planning and development in Big Sky for more than 12 years, the majority of the time for Moonlight Basin, and now for Lone Mountain Land Company. My family became full-time Big Sky residents last year when we moved from Ennis and my three children are students in the Big Sky School District.
As an active member of the Big Sky community, I’m well versed in local issues and uniquely qualified to serve as your representative on the Resort Tax Board. Currently, I’m a board member of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce; Big Sky Mountain Trails, Recreation and Parks Special District; Moonlight Community Foundation; Big Sky Natural Resource Council; Jack Creek Preserve Foundation; and am a member of the Custer Gallatin National Forest Working Group.
I’m also an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hunting, fly fishing, trail running, mountain biking, and most of all, spending time with my family. I have a master’s in civil engineering and bachelor’s in geohydrology from Montana State University.
I am committed to supporting initiatives that will improve our growing community, such as affordable housing; improving and expanding recreational areas and trails; protecting our natural resources; and the environmental and economic sustainability of Big Sky.
I moved to Big Sky from Minnesota with my wife and two children 11 years ago looking for a better quality of life, and we found it. After arriving in Big Sky, I worked at First Security Bank for eight years and am currently the CFO of Lone Peak Physical Therapy. My background in Big Sky over the past decade has given me an understanding of the struggles business and families have to live and work in our community.
I was elected to the Big Sky Resort Area District Board in 2011 and have been involved in many other community boards and activities over the past 10 years. I’ve enjoyed serving the resort tax district the past four years and if reelected I will continue to be a good steward of the district’s funds.
I feel that I bring a balance of collaboration and accountability with the organizations the district works with and I’m comfortable asking tough questions to entities that request funds. Most of all, I’m concerned about the long-term health and success of our community.
Originally from Ohio, I studied philosophy at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. Shortly after moving to Big Sky in 2005, I learned that there is no “they” in Big Sky, there is only “us.” Big Sky residents are responsible for our own successes and failures. This perspective motivates me to run for the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board position.
I’m an optimistic, problem-solving, team-building woman, and have a track record to prove it. I’ve been a substitute teacher at Ophir schools for five years; served on the Arts Council board for six years and as its president for two; and on the Warren Miller Performing Arts Council board for three years. I’ve attended BSRAD board meetings for the last seven years and understand the application and allocation process.
Professionally, I’m a broker with Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty and my husband Ken co-owns Grizzly Outfitters Ski and Backcountry Sports. I have tremendous respect for the people who have created Big Sky as we know it today, and I’ll continue to shape its future with other community leaders.
If elected, I will cultivate public-private partnerships, embolden Big Sky’s best organizations, and personally work with local businesses to educate their customers about the importance of resort tax.
For the past 43 years, I’ve been active in the growth of Big Sky through my ownership of Buck’s T-4 Lodge and my participation on many of the community’s boards and organizations. In that time, I’ve developed skills and knowledge that enable me to help the community allocate the resort tax’s valuable resources.
The experience of helping to draft the initial resort tax law, as well as lobbying for its passage in 1988, have been valuable for understanding the law’s intent as it pertains to Big Sky. By serving on numerous boards that have applied for resort tax funding, I’ve gained valuable insight into the issues applicants must consider when applying.
I’ve seen the need for a balanced approach to funding community needs demonstrated many times and, when used properly, the resort tax gives Big Sky the opportunity to better serve residents and visitors.
Receiving the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce’s Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 was an honor, and is indicative of my dedication to and involvement in Big Sky during the past four decades.
I hope that the community feels my efforts, work and decisions on the Resort Tax Board over the last four years justifies their vote for another term.
I have been an active member of the Big Sky community for nearly 14 years and own a home in South Fork with my husband Mason. Originally from Virginia, I studied forestry while attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and am the business office manager for Big Sky Landscaping, as well as the bookkeeper for Big Sky Snowman.
I am passionate about giving back to the community and have volunteered for many organizations in Big Sky, such as the Big Sky PTO; Morningstar Learning Center; the South Fork Phase 1 Homeowner’s Association board; and Women In Action. My passion for mental health – a result of witnessing my mother’s work in the field – impelled me to become a founding member of Women In Action, and later serve as board president.
Impressed by what I’ve seen this community achieve, I feel the resort tax and Resort Tax Board allocations are significant driving factors in Big Sky’s accomplishments. My experience working with several different types of businesses over a number of years gives me a unique perspective on the many faces of Big Sky. This puts me in a position to make honest, organized, well-examined decisions for the benefit of the community, while being conscientious and approachable.