Fuel Tax and Capital Improvement Plan

By Beacon Staff

Council tonight will decide tonight whether to allow a public vote in November on levying a small tax on motor fuel. The tax proposal comes at the request of the Flathead County Commission, part of an effort to raise funds to improve road maintenance. The tax would be part of an interlocal agreement between the county, Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls.

At a previous council meeting, some gas station owners turned out to oppose the tax proposal, arguing that it would cut into their profit margin. Council members said they would not support any tax that might harm small business owners and explained that the tax can be structured in such a way that it would not. Many on the council seemed somewhat positive about the tax as a way to get the hundreds of thousands of tourists who pass through the Flathead to pay for the wear and tear they impose on roads.

Council will also vote to ratify the city’s contract with its employees after a long-running standoff with the union of city workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Council will also set the salary schedule for the compensation of city officials, supervisors and employees.

Also on the agenda are platting for two lots and a small increase in the city planning department fee schedule, which addresses administrative costs associated with development.

After taking Labor Day off, the Whitefish City Council is back in action Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. to vote on a revised Capital Improvement Plan. The more than $70 million plan outlines a spending program on capital facilities between the current year and 2012.

Also to be discussed:

-Noise issue at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
-Ordinance extending ice rink hours
-Two special events permits
-Request for preliminary plat of Ramsey Lake View Subdivision
-Conditional use permit to allow two condominiums on a lot at 722 Edgewood Place
-Ordinance concerning temporary sign and fee schedule amendments
-Potential expansion of the City Beach property
-Recommendation for a steel casing installation contract for Cow Creek Sewer Project
-Whitefish Middle School parking issues
-Cable franchise agreement with Bresnan Communications
-Process to fill council vacancy
-Appointment of Deputy Mayor