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Resort tax approval to help Columbia Falls with infrastructure, emergency service needs

Approved Columbia Falls resort tax helps infrastructure, emergency service needs
Posted at 2:24 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 16:24:56-04

Columbia Falls residents approved a 3% resort tax Tuesday night which will be used to help pay for infrastructure and emergency service needs.

The measure calls for 55% of tax funds raised to go toward funding public safety needs.

City officials said Columbia Falls has seen a 28% population increase since the year 2000, putting increased stress on police and fire departments.

They say the funding will help address emergency service needs including additional staffing.

Additionally, 25% of the tax funds go toward a property tax rebate for city landowners while 14% of funds raised go toward public infrastructure improvements.

Columbia Falls city manager Susan Nicosia says the resort tax only applies to luxury items, not essential services.

“So, it’s not the essential services, it’s not your basic groceries, it’s definitely not toilet paper or diapers, but prepared food and restaurants, bars, hotels which are hard-coded into the statute,” said Nicosia.

Collection of the resort tax starts in October of 2021 and will be in effect for 20 years.