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Resort tax starts appropriations




By Bella Butler EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – The Big Sky Resort Area District board met on June 10 to begin making allocation decisions for Fiscal Year 21 appropriations.

With $6.5 million to dole out across two 6-month periods and $3.3 million in spring fund requests, the board initially voted to reserve $1.5 million as an emergency fund, but later reduced it to  $500,000.

Preliminary decisions, or recommendations, came out of the three-hour meeting following a series of motions, discussions and votes on to how to distribute funding amongst the 26 applicants. As the recommendations currently sit, roughly 73 percent of the total spring requests will be funded.

The board decided that large capital projects, like the Big Sky Fire Department’s wildland apparatus replacement and the Big Sky Transportation District’s new bus barn are thus far going to be deferred until the fall.

The board also made a number of decisions to ensure equity between like applicants. Both Morningstar Learning Center and the Big Sky Discovery Academy will be awarded amounts that total $13 per enrolled child per day for their comparative early childhood education programs.

All conservation organizations’ operating costs were voted to be funded at 75 percent of each request with the exception of Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance, which trimmed its own request significantly and was awarded their full requested amount.

The Gallatin River Task Force’s application requested approximately $50,000 (for a total of $100,000 for the entire fiscal year) to fund groundwater discharge modeling and planning for the Gallatin River and support for the formation of a canyon district. The board voted to fund portions of GRTF’s other project requests but concluded that the $100,000 ticket item could possibly be included by the Big Sky County Water and Sewer District in its infrastructure project, which was approved for 1 percent resort tax funding by district voters in May.

Based on the preliminary allocation decisions, the board will allocate $2.4 million, set aside $500,000 in a reserve fund and save $3.6 million to be allocated in the fall appropriation cycle. Requests that remain for the fall allocation total $3.7 million.

The board will finalize appropriation decisions at a June 17 meeting. Complete award recommendations from the June 10 meeting can be found at the BSRAD website.

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