Columbia Falls residents pass resort tax to fund infrastructure, emergency needs

(KPAX) COLUMBIA FALLS — Columbia Falls residents approved a 3% resort tax on Tuesday night, helping pay for infrastructure and emergency service needs.

Fifty-five percent of tax funds raised will go toward public safety.

City officials said Columbia Falls has seen a 28% population increase since the year 2000, putting increased stress on police and fire departments. City officials said funding will help address emergency service needs including additional staffing.

Twenty-five percent of 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.