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NorthWestern Energy presented Yellowstone County Commissioners with a $35,135.88 rebate for participating in the utility's E+ Efficiency Plus Commercial Lighting Rebate Program. The funds will go into MetraPark's budget, and the operating benefits go to Rimrock Auto Arena, since the project is expected to reduce the facility's electric costs by about $24,000, annually.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has thrown a monkey wrench into the completion of the new Lockwood Sewer. As the last phase of construction nears completion, a portion of it which is located next to a Superfund Site won't get completed because the EPA has refused to give the Lockwood Water and Sewer District a permit to dig.
The belt tightens for Yellowstone County government. County officials were rather surprised to learn that the taxable value of property in Yellowstone increased only 0.68 percent – considerably less than in the past. Last year the rate of growth was 2.2 percent.
Certified taxable valuation of new construction for Yellowstone County was $7.2 million for fiscal 2011-12 compared to almost $9.5 million last year.
CHS Inc. is appealing to the Montana Supreme Court a district court ruling that sided with the state Department of Revenue in a property tax dispute over the company's Laurel oil refinery.
The company filed a notice of appeal June 21, challenging District Judge Susan Watters' April 20 ruling granting the Revenue Department's request for summary judgment.
In a perfect case scenario the proposed highway between Lockwood and the Heights, called the Northend Bypass, could be open to the public by 2020, said Stefan Streeter, District Manager for the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). Streeter was one of several MDT officials at the Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting last Tuesday, with the request that the PCC place the project as a top priority for Yellowstone County on its transportation plan.
A commitment from the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) to increase its contribution to MetraPark will allow the facility to cover costs for hosting high school sports tournaments. The Montana High School Sports Association (MHSA) does not allow the usual improvement fee to be included in ticket prices for its high school sports events. The improvement fee goes to the facility's capital improvement fund and is charged by Metra Park for all other events.
"Timing is everything and this is just poor timing," Yellowstone County Commissioners told the Planning Department regarding proposed fee increases.
Planning staff proposed an across the board fee increase of four percent. They also brought to commissioners a complete revamping of subdivision review fees which reflected, in some cases increases of more than 300 percent, in an effort to impose the full cost of plat reviews on developers.
It was announced at the joint meeting of the executive committees of Big Sky Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Big Sky Economic Development Corporation (EDC) that LMN Architecture and Design of Seattle, Washington has been selected to develop a concept plan for Exposition Gateway, which is the area directly cross from MetraPark on Exposition Drive. The contract will be for $101,500. LMN will work with a local company, High Plains Architects, as a co-leader. The project is expected to take from 12 to 18 months to complete. Randy Hafer of High Plains was in attendance at the executive committee meeting, and he commended the selection process pursued by EDA. The process involved a committee of board members, Tax Increment District representation and property owners, interviewing the nine responses they received on their request for proposals.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103