The recent City Tour to towns in Montana and Wyoming offered plenty of food for thought. Summit County Manager Tom Fisher offered a few examples in his regular report to KPCW.
Fisher said that after hearing from officials around Bozeman and Gallatin County, in Montana, they felt a little more grateful for the tax system in Utah.
“It reinforced, especially being up in Montana where they are completely property tax based they don’t have sales tax. With a high tourist area of Gallatin County, and then Bozeman and its other cities, West Yellowstone being one of them. They have no real ability to capture what we’re lucky enough to be able to do to capture some of those tourism dollars through sales tax. They have to be very creative in how they provide services in a totally property tax base. They don’t even have the same thing that we have with the division of second homes versus primary homes with property tax. So, it’s all one tax rate.”
He said with their tax situation, the Bozeman community got creative in dealing with some of their issues.
“One thing that they had was this group call a human resources development council. The name doesn’t really matter but its kind of the go-to group within their community. If they don’t know how to do something within the local government or in the community and they have this need they go to this group and say, ‘can you do something?’ The example was they were experiencing some homeless issues and a couple of homeless individuals in the past 10 years have passed away from exposure. The community wanted to do something about that, so they came up with the idea of opening up warming centers in the winter. Just having some place in the community to go like that. We’re lucky enough to have non-profits and non-profit organizers that do some of those same things but boy it was another example of a community working together.”