I was asked recently why I would get involved with another political event. After all, I pretty much retired from politics after my last term as mayor. Many of you know I have avoided involvement in several very good organizations and causes in that effort to retire. This is different.
There is an opportunity for Whitefish this spring that is fleeting and essential – the chance to fund a permanent land conservation agreement in Haskill Basin that will protect our drinking water. In my mind this ballot issue regarding our resort tax is not political nor a cause. It is only about securing the cleanest and most cost effective water possible. Not just for those here now, but for generations in the future who will benefit from permanent access to the best water source we have.
Most of you know that our resort tax has done great things for Whitefish and it has overwhelming support. This effort and special ballot issue is worthy of that continued support for use of the final one percent we are allowed. And that one percent will have even more meaning when we shop and eat locally in Whitefish.
There are ancillary benefits to this ballot measure to be sure. Some of these are property tax relief, recreation, viewshed, wildlife habitat, as well as continued timber jobs through FH Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. I do not want to make light of these – they are very important. Make no mistake however: the overriding issue before us is water. This is our opportunity to permanently protect our water source in Haskill Basin.
We have enjoyed a clean and cost effective water source in Whitefish for a long time. The drawback has always been that it comes from private land. The Stoltze family and their company have been and are excellent neighbors. But in the longer term view, they may not always own the land. We are at a moment in time when it is possible to accomplish something that will not be here again. Let’s not allow it to slip through our fingers.
If you have specific questions about this ballot measure, there is a website that has a great deal of information regarding the issue. It is protectwhitefishwater.org. I encourage everyone to vote when your ballot arrives on April 8 and vote yes to secure our future water.
Mike Jenson, chairman
Vote YES for Water! Protect Haskill Basin