The question in Columbia Falls: Raise taxes or approve a resort tax?

(KPAX) Columbia Falls is faced with a big decision — does the city increase taxes or approve a resort tax?

City Manager Susan Nicosia told MTN News that the city struggles with some basic necessities including a shortage of volunteer firefighters, bad signage and poor roads.

The city has two options to fix these issues — raise taxes or move forward with a resort community designation.  The town recently met criteria for a resort community thanks to a bill passed by legislators in Helena.

The population is less than 5,500 as determined in a census,” Nicosia explained. That you have an economic impact that is tourist related not just sales or income generation from traditional or non-tourist jobs.”

Nicosia explained that while Columbia Falls doesn’t appear to be a resort town, it’s proximity to Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forrest make it appealing.

A citizen vote is needed to move forward with either a tax raise or resort tax.

Nicosia says the taxable amount can be flexible depending on how citizens vote and says that no voting would take place for another year.