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BSRAD launches new public comment tool before grant allocations

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It takes about ten minutes to provide community feedback online before public dollars are allocated in Resort Tax grants. ADOBE STOCK PHOTO

‘Prioritize’ allows Big Sky community to rank importance of local projects, informing BSRAD 

By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER 

The Big Sky Resort Area District has received funding applications for 52 local projects ahead of fiscal year 2024, and the board of directors will allocate grants for those projects in early June.  

To gain a sense of community priorities, BSRAD has launched a new website for community feedback which remains open until June 1. 

Requests total $11.04 million and recent board discussion suggests that BSRAD has just north of $9 million to play with.  

Using the online “Prioritize” tool, anyone in the Big Sky community can select the projects which they deem worthy of receiving Resort Tax funding, and rank all of those selections in order of importance. Users can rank within six “impact areas”: Arts and education, economic development, public works, health and safety, recreation and conservation, and housing. 

EBS found the website easy to use, and can report that the entire process takes about 10 minutes.  

“I think it’s the easiest way for the community to engage in all the projects comprehensively,” said Tammy Estensen, BSRAD communications and community engagement manager. “And all of that data gets transferred to the board before their decision making so they know which projects are most important to the community.”  

Estensen added that now, board members don’t need to do any guesswork on whether a project is important to the community, and this process allows for anonymous feedback—public comment can be intimidating, she said.  

The website lists a basic description and monetary ask for each project. More information about each project, and aggregate statistics from FY24 application cycle, can be found in this BSRAD document.  

The impact area with the most options available is “recreation and conservation,” which lists 27 projects spanning conservation, sustainability, outdoor recreation and infrastructure, all vying for Resort Tax dollars.  

Housing, on the other hand, shows only three projects—existing programs run by the Big Sky Community Housing Trust. 

The following organizations requested funding for at least one project in FY24.  

  • Arts Council of Big Sky 
  • Big Sky Community Food Bank 
  • Big Sky Community Housing Trust 
  • Big Sky Community Organization 
  • Big Sky Chamber of Commerce 
  • Big Sky Discovery Academy  
  • Big Sky Skijoring 
  • Big Sky Trails, Recreation and Parks District 
  • Big Sky County Water and Sewer District 
  • Center for Large Landscape Conservation 
  • Friends of the Big Sky Community Library 
  • Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance 
  • Gallatin River Task Force 
  • Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association 
  • Morningstar Learning Center 
  • Big Sky Sustainability Network Organization (SNO) 
  • Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association 
  • Visit Big Sky 
  • Wellness in Action 
  • Warren Miller Performing Arts Center 

Community members can also provide feedback by sending an email to BSRAD, and by attending the allocations meetings at BASE and via Zoom on June 5 and 6.  

Snacks and refreshments will be provided at those meetings, according to the allocations website.  

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