Whitefish residents and business owners are encouraged to attend an informational meeting on the Haskill Basin project on Thursday, March 26, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish. The one-hour meeting will include a presentation from Mayor John Muhlfeld, Q & A, and refreshments. The event is sponsored by Vote Yes for Water, Protect Haskill Basin, Treasurer Fred Jones.
The Whitefish City Council has referred a measure to voters that will allow the City of Whitefish to protect 3,000 acres in Haskill Basin that have provided 75 percent of Whitefish’s drinking water for over a century, by purchasing a 3,000-acre easement.
Approximately $7.7 million in funds raised by the proposed increase in the City’s resort tax from 2 percent to 3 percent would be used to leverage $9 million in federal grants that pay more than half the cost of the easement to protect Haskill Basin, continue sustainable timber harvest to maintain local jobs and provide wild fire mitigation, as well as preserve wildlife habitat and permanent recreational access.
Currently owned by F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company, the value of the easement is estimated at $20.6 million, but Stoltze has agreed to a price of $17 million. While 70 percent of resort tax funds would go toward the easement purchase for protection of Haskill Basin, 25 percent would provide additional property tax relief for Whitefish homeowners and businesses, and 5 percent would be devoted toward merchants’ cost of administration.
For more information go to www.protectwhitefishwater.org.