Whitefish City Council will take on several key proposals Monday night, including the city’s annual budget, a plan to expand the city’s urban growth line south of Montana 40, and ideas for how the city can spend more than $ 1 million on state pandemic relief.

Governor Greg Gianforte announced on Friday the final round of payments to the cities of Montana from the American bailout plan signed by President Joe Biden in March. In a statement, Gianforte said the funds would give cities “the power to address their individual needs, from helping those affected by the pandemic to investing in their infrastructure needs”.

Whitefish is said to receive $ 1,059,435 from the aid package. Gianforte’s office hadn’t disclosed the exact amounts for Kalispell and Columbia Falls as of Friday, although an earlier estimate by U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s office suggested Kalispell would receive approximately $ 5.95 million in direct assistance. These numbers do not include the money that goes to local school districts.

Whitefish City Council will have a working session on Monday to discuss what to do with the aid. A presentation on the Council session filing stated that money could be used for a variety of purposes including:

  • To cover costs related to water, sewer and rainwater components in rebuilding Edgewood Place and to offset expenses from city tax revenues.
  • Allows the city to reduce the amount of tourist tax it will collect in fiscal year 2022.
  • Supplementing parks and recreational income.
  • Purchase of “contactless” garbage cans for the city.
  • Fill in gaps in the city’s affordable housing programs.
  • Granting grants to nonprofits, corporations, and individuals to aid recovery from the financial impact of the pandemic.
  • Approval of the city library’s application for sanitary products.
  • We continue to offer video streaming and other “hybrid” options for hosting public meetings.
  • Purchase of radios for the Whitefish Police Department.
  • Providing “short term rental compliance and enforcement services” related to health and safety.

After the working session, the council could have a regular meeting on the proposal to expand sewage, water, police and fire services south of the Montana city limits 40. The expansion of the city growth limit is a step in the follow-up process. Council members and citizens have considered and debated the proposal during the last Council meetings.

The council will also consider an annual operating budget of approximately $ 42.5 million, which would reduce property taxes and focus on keeping funds in the city’s savings account.

The council met for the first time in person last week after holding virtual meetings for more than a year due to the pandemic.

The working session on Monday starts at 5.30 p.m. and the main session starts at 7.10 p.m. in the town hall; the option to join via Webex video conferencing is still available. For instructions on how to turn it on, as well as the agenda for the council meeting, see the city’s website.

Assistant Editor Chad Sokol can be reached at 406-758-4439 or csokol@dailyinterlake.com.