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Butte considers raising bed tax to fund new airport flight

Posted at 10:15 AM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 12:15:08-05

BUTTE – Butte Chief Executive Dave Palmer believes the Bert Mooney Airport needs more than one flight.

“We have a lot of leakage going to Bozeman and a lot of people go to Bozeman to get better connections, maybe a cheaper thing,” said Palmer.

The Mining City needs revenue to entice an airline to consider bringing a flight to Butte. This revenue could be generated by adding $1 to Butte’s bed tax, paid by people staying at hotels and motels.

“The dollar that they’re currently collecting is about $265,000 a year. If we could double that to $2 a year, that’s just more money to set aside for that revenue guarantee,” said Palmer.

The airport is in negotiations with United Airlines to get a connection out of Denver. The revenue guarantee is money the airline could use if tickets sales are low.

“If they’re under, they will take some money out of the revenue guarantee pot. If you’re over, that stays there and you don’t spend anything,” said Palmer.

Economic leaders believe having an extra flight at this airport would make Butte more appealing to businesses that are considering relocating here.

“Larger businesses that are looking to relocate here around the country, they look at the access into the area, you know, and we’re at a great advantage with the crossroads of I-15 and I-90, but these corporations want to fly in and fly out,” said Palmer.

-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News