The Lake County election Office last week released an official notification of a special election in Polson on a proposed resort tax, set for Feb. 2.
In October the Polson City Commission voted unanimously to put a resort tax to voters. If approved the measure would put in place a 3% tax on select luxury retail items and services for 20 years beginning July 1.
The lion’s share of the revenue from the tax, 80%, would go toward city street improvements, with 17% earmarked for property tax relief and 3% to cover administrative costs and another 3% returned to vendors collecting the tax.
City staff have been holding informational forums conducted via Zoom. The final forum is 7 p.m. Jan. 19. More information is available on the city of Polson website.
— Lake County Leader
Bigfork school district, teachers union settle contract
After months of negotiations since two general fund levies totaling $591,454 passed in May, Bigfork School District 38 and the Bigfork Area Educators Association have come to an agreement on teacher salaries and benefits. Bigfork teaching staff will receive an 8% increase on their base salary for the 2020-21 school year and 1.5% for each of the subsequent two years. They will also receive $600 toward health insurance premiums, up from $564 the year prior, a $1,855 stipend for those with a master’s degree, a one-time 3% bonus and an additional step on the salary schedule. Teacher salary schedules include “steps,” referring to years of teaching, and “lanes” referring to a teacher’s level of education. Teachers advance in steps for each year worked until they reach the top, earning about 3% more each year, according to Superintendent Matt Jensen, and can also move lanes by obtaining more education.
The levy was originally put out to voters as a means of bridging the gap between Bigfork teacher salaries — especially those at the top end of the scale — and educator salaries at other local institutions. For example, the previous maximum a teacher could earn at Bigfork Schools was $69,892, where other institutions offered between $76,840 and $88,000 for an equivalent position. The new maximum is $71,966, including the master’s degree stipend.
— Bigfork Eagle
Officials probe Christmas Day burglaries north of Eureka
Law enforcement officials are investigating multiple Christmas Day burglaries in the Bootleg road area near the Canadian border, according to the Tobacco Valley News.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bo Pitman said his office is actively working to local two known suspects who were caught on a security camera in the area.
— Tobacco Valley News
Paradise protesters vow to continue fight against sewer system
Despite a recent setback, citizens opposing the Paradise sewer construction project say they have not and will not give up their fight against the $4.5 million plan to install a sewer system in their town.
Last week a request for a temporary restraining order was filed with the Montana 20th District Court in Polson, seeking a temporary halt to the project. The request sought to halt further work on the sewer project, which is slated to begin in spring 2021, until a formal hearing can be conducted to determine the merits of the proposed sewer system and its impact on local residents.
The basis of the request rested on protesters’ claims the project is too costly and has progressed without following state constitutional guidelines.
The court, however, denied the request and gave protest leaders 30 days to appeal that decision.
—Clark Fork Valley Press