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West Yellowstone voters have renewed the town’s sales tax and added a 1% tax to pay for much-needed infrastructure projects.

The renewal of the town’s 3% resort tax passed overwhelmingly in Tuesday’s election with 87.9% of the vote, according to unofficial results released Wednesday morning. The additional 1% tax was approved with 68.2% of the vote.

West Yellowstone plans to use the additional 1% resort tax for construction of a new wastewater treatment facility, replacement of water and sewer lines, installation of a water storage tank and improvements to streets and sidewalks. Town manager Dan Sabolsky has said the 1% tax will generate about $1.2 million annually.

Sabolsky and other Gallatin County officials advocated for the law during the 2019 legislative session because they said it could help resort areas better accommodate tourists and year-round residents.

Gallatin County Commissioner Don Seifert, who is among those who advocated for the law, said he was glad to see West Yellowstone voters backed the increase.

“I’m happy that it passed because it will allow West Yellowstone to improve infrastructure that is in desperate need of fixing,” he said.

Resort areas can levy a 3% sales tax on luxury items, but voters must approve it every 20 years. West Yellowstone’s tax doesn’t expire until 2025, but the town council wanted to secure the renewal now to ensure it’s in place at least as long as the 1% tax hike.

The 3% resort tax goes to services like law enforcement and road maintenance.

Gallatin County’s other resort area — Big Sky — doesn’t have plans to ask voters for the 1% sales tax increase, said Daniel Bierschwale, district manager for Big Sky’s resort tax. Big Sky recently finished surveying residents about the town’s needs and developing a list of projects that could address those needs. Big Sky may eventually ask voters to approve the tax increase to fund some of those projects.

“It’s another tool in the tool kit,” Bierschwale said.

Outside Gallatin County, Virginia City also approved the 1% resort tax increase on Tuesday with support from 84% of voters. The tax will generate about $35,000 annually and will help Virginia City purchase the town’s central parking lot, which is now leased. The tax will “terminate in about 4-5 years,” according to the town’s election abstract.

Also on Tuesday, Manhattan voters approved a mill levy that will go toward pay raises for police officers.

The permanent five mill levy passed with 60.3% of the vote. The levy will generate about $16,190 annually and will enable Manhattan to give its three patrol officers a raise of $2 per hour, bringing their pay more in line with that of Bozeman and Belgrade, said Police Chief Dennis Hengel.

With the pay increase, the police department will be better able to recruit and retain employees, Hengel added.

The mill levy will increase property taxes by about $13.50 for owners of a home with a market value of $200,000.

“We’re thankful for the support from the citizens of our town,” he said. “I think it shows our excellent level of support, that the police department is doing a good job and that we have a good relationship with the community.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.

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