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Whitefish voters overwhelmingly approve resort tax renewal

Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 18:46:58-04

WHITEFISH — Whitefish voters renewed the city’s 3% resort tax for an additional 20 years during Tuesday’s municipal election with an overwhelming 89% approval rate.

“It really shows that our community values the contributions that our visitors make through our resort tax,” Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith told MTN News.

Street repairs, park improvements and property tax relief highlight the returns of a resort tax Whitefish voters approved during the municipal election.

“Whether it’s streets, parks, property tax relief it’s done great things for this community, and I’m thrilled to see that it’s passed by such a large margin,” added Smith.

Smith said the renewal means the resort tax will now stay in place through 2045. She noted the resort tax currently brings in roughly $4 million a year for the city, she expects revenue to only grow in the coming years.

“As time goes on, we’ve seen a growth rate since 1996 of close to 5% to 6%, so you can anticipate that this $4 million will grow over the next 20 years,” said Smith.

Since its inception in 1996, Smith said the approval rating for the resort tax has grown significantly.

“When it was originally approved it was in the mid 50’s, we moved up into the 70’s with the next election and into the low 80’s for the additional 1% and now we’re sitting at an 89% approval rate, I would say that shows the value is there for having this tax within Whitefish,” added Smith.

Smith said funds will go a long way toward helping the city become more bike and pedestrian path friendly, as the number of annual visitors to Whitefish continues to grow.

“Providing alternative transportation through Whitefish is going to be key in the future and this is going to help that be accomplished,” said Smith.