Democracy cannot succeed without citizen participation in the public decision making process. If a significant number of people don’t show an interest in being informed, important decisions are made without citizen participation that may not be in the best interest of the community.
Recent news media reported that the Polson City Commission is considering putting a Resort Tax item on the November ballot. City residents defeated the Resort Tax by 84 percent when it was put on the ballot in 2009.
Murat Kalinyaprek ran for city commissioner in 2009 and did significant research regarding the Polson Resort Tax issue, which is archived at montanaonline.net/resorttax. The website provides official documents and other information showing that Polson did not qualify as a Resort Community. In my opinion, the data shows the tax would mainly impact year-round residents.
It seems reasonable that before addressing issues involving the advantages or disadvantages of a Resort Tax it must be determined whether the city qualifies as a Resort Community based on “current” data.
MCA 7-6-1501 states that: (5) “Resort community” means a community that: (c) “derives the primary portion of its economic well being related to current employment from businesses catering to the recreational and personal needs of persons traveling to or through the municipality for purposes not related to their income production.”
In 2008 the Department of Commerce declined to designate Polson a Resort Community. However, in 2009 the department did a turn around and reorganized data to support their reversed decision.
I encourage citizens and the current City Commission to examine the 2008 and 2009 documents, and then request an updated evaluation on whether Polson meets the requirement of a Resort Community. I request the evaluation be made public.
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