By Joseph T. O’Connor Explorebigsky.com Editor
BIG SKY – The Resort Tax Board is holding two town hall meetings early in 2013, before tax appropriations are divvied out starting in April.
In a letter to the community, received by the Big Sky Weekly on Dec. 18, members of the five-person RTB explained the purpose and importance of these public meetings, scheduled for Jan. 14 and Feb. 11.
“With Big Sky’s decentralized quasi-form of government made up of various taxing districts and not-for-profit organizations, which perform many duties of traditional incorporated governments, some centralized exchange of thoughts and planning is a good idea,” the letter read.
“We want to make prudent decisions in spending the limited but respectable amount of taxes collected by local businesses.”
In the Jan. 14 meeting, the board says they’re looking for feedback on two main issues.
First, they hope to discuss with community members a “sinking fund.” This refers to the board setting aside money for “anticipated capital expenditures,” according to the letter.
“Each resort tax board wrestles with being limited by appropriating no more than the taxes collected,” said Les Loble, RTB’s chairman. “It’s hard to turn people down and still put money away for a rainy day.”
Additionally on Jan. 14, the board will address asking the Montana legislature for bonding authority for Big Sky’s “resort tax district,” such as areas have in “resort tax communities” like West Yellowstone. “Issuing bonds would mean that future tax receipts would be pledged to pay the bonds,” according to the letter.
“Also being considered is whether projects requiring a bond would require a super-majority of the board or a vote of the district’s registered voters,” the letter read.
On Feb. 11, the board will present a post-review version of an organizational survey, including information from local organizations regarding their goals and future needs. These surveys will request funding requirements for the next three years.
The board will then hear from organizations in five-minute presentations, about their purpose and involvement in the community.
They plan to close the Feb. 11 meeting with an open forum and a question and answer session with the RTB.
The board hopes to see a significant public turnout at the meetings, in addition to organizations hoping to receive funding from resort tax. All community members are encouraged to attend.
Meetings on Jan. 14 and Feb. 11 meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Montana Room at Buck’s T-4 Restaurant Complex.