More than two dozen nonprofits, law enforcement agencies and various community groups in Big Sky scored roughly $8.5 million, doled out from the area’s resort tax collections last week.
The annual month-long process, overseen by a five-member board, distributes revenues gathered in the form of resort tax to local organizations.
The largest chunk of this year’s piggy bank was awarded to the Big Sky Community Housing Trust, which received $1.9 million, the vast majority of which the group hopes to use to build affordable housing in partnership with an existing condominium development.
The Meadowview Condominium Development that recently broke ground near Community Park off Little Coyote Drive will, pending a successful arrangement between the private developer and BSCHT, use the resort tax funds to subsidize its 52 units. A two-bedroom condo will cost $280,000 and a studio $120,000, according to Brian Guyer, community development manager for HRDC, which oversees the Big Sky group.
“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” Guyer said. “This project would ease pressure on almost the entire spectrum of housing in Big Sky.”
According to a February report, the area needs to add 665 houses over the next five years to address the current housing shortfall. The housing trust’s latest swing at affordable housing — a 32-unit subdivision that also drew from resort tax funds — was shot down by Gallatin County commissioners last year.
If all goes to plan, the Meadowview condos, which will be completed sometime next year, will be deed restricted, keeping them affordable if and when they change hands.
The fact that the resort tax board earmarked such a large sum for affordable housing is a clear marker of its understanding of the severity of the community’s housing crunch, Guyer said.
“(The resort tax board) really showed that they’re committed to this issue of housing in Big Sky,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about them.”
Other appropriations recipients included Gallatin County 911, which was awarded roughly half of its $938,000 request to improve emergency radio communications.
A few of the projects rolled over from 2017, including Morningstar Learning Center’s $90,000 request to help finish its infant care facility. The child care center also was awarded $113,000 to knock $10 per child per day off its tuition.
Big Sky is one of 10 “resort areas” across the state that levy a sales tax. Established in 1992, the 3 percent tax applies to all “luxury goods and services” sold within the Big Sky Resort Area District, which includes the Yellowstone Club and Spanish Peaks Mountain Club. The tax has raised more than $50 million since 1999.
A full list of funded groups and detailed projects can be found online.
Arts Council of Big Sky
Big Sky Chamber of Commerce
Big Sky Community Food Bank
Big Sky Community Housing Trust
Big Sky Community Organization
Big Sky Discovery Academy
Big Sky Fire Department
Gallatin County 911
Gallatin County Sheriff's Office
Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance
Gallatin River Task Force
Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association
Jack Creek Preserve Foundation
Big Sky Community Library
Montana Land Reliance
Morningstar Learning Center
Big Sky Post Office
Big Sky Search and Rescue
Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association
Big Sky Meadow Trails Recreation and Parks District
Big Sky Transportation District
Visit Big Sky
Warren Miller Performing Arts Center
Wildlife Conservation Society
Women In Action
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