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Candidate filing closed for Resort Tax Board positions

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By Maria Wyllie EBS Associate Editor

BIG SKY – Candidate filing for three of the five seats on the Big Sky Resort Area District Board of Directors closed on Thursday, Aug. 20 ahead of the general election on Nov. 3.

The Resort Tax Board serves on a voluntary basis and oversees all aspects of collection and appropriation of Big Sky’s local 3 percent sales tax. The board meets regularly and reviews applications and appropriates funding each June.

Big Sky residents Grace Young, Tallie Lancey and Kevin Germain,and returning board members Jamey Kabisch and Mike Scholz submitted petitions for nomination.

Board members Kabisch, Scholz and Jeff Strickler are concluding their first, four-year terms. Ginna Herman and Heather Budd won’t be up for re-election until May of 2018, since election dates are moving to May after this November’s election.

The Montana Legislature in January passed House Bill 84, which determines new guidelines for special purpose district elections, like RTB’s, and requires elections to be conducted on the same day as school trustee elections.

This means winning candidates will serve an additional six months, with terms expiring in May 2020. A May election date followed by appropriations in June gives the newly elected member little time to become acquainted with the process, according to Budd.

“If I had walked into appropriations right after being elected, it would have been very difficult,” Budd said at the Aug. 12 board meeting.

The board agreed that regardless of whether a new member is elected in November or May, he or she would likely feel a bit lost during the appropriations meeting. Herman suggested the board make the orientation process more comprehensive to help newly elected RTB members become comfortable with the process.

Also during the Aug. 12 meeting, members made small changes to the appropriation application, which will include instructions to help avoid confusion and make it easier for someone new applying.

Dates for the next Q-and-A session and appropriations were set for June 6 and June 20, 2016, with applications due May 1, 2016.

The 2015-2016 Resort Tax Board meeting dates were also discussed at length. The board agreed to set monthly meetings for July, August, November, January, and March, as well as two meetings in June.

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