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Whitefish resort tax extension on November ballot

Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 18:47:04-04

WHITEFISH — Whitefish voters will decide on Nov 2. renewing the city’s 3% resort tax for an additional 20 years.

“This allows our visitors to help pay for our improvements for our streets, for our parks and again help with property tax relief,” Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith told MTN News.

The resort tax which was initially passed in 1996 is back on the ballot this November for a vote on a 20-year extension.

“So that would be till 2045,” added Smith.

Smith said 58% percent of the 3% Resort Tax would go toward street maintenance and improvements, 25% for property tax relief and 10% toward bike, pedestrian path and park improvements.

“So, you might see playground equipment, you might see additional bike paths that are throughout town, when we say parks it also includes those bike paths, and those connections are very important to make us a walkable and bikeable community,” said Smith.

Smith said the resort tax is considered a luxury tax and is mainly used in lodging, bars, and restaurant settings.

“If you have household items that you need for repair and maintenance those items are not taxed, so it’s very limited in its collection compared to a normal sales tax you might see in other states,” added Smith.

Smith said the resort tax brings in roughly $4 million a year for the City of Whitefish, funds that would disappear if the current resort tax expires in 2025.

“Since 1996 we’ve been able to rebate over $15 million through our resort tax back to our property taxpayers,” said Smith.