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Parks and Recreation Bond’s financial impact



Billings, Montana – Next month, Billings voters will have to decide on a number of important topics, including a $143 million Parks and Recreation bond that would reportedly be used to finance sixteen various projects.

The bond’s supporters, Play It Forward, said this week that they had raised more than half of the money needed for the bond through private donations. In order to help property owners with expenditures if the bond passes next month, they say they have raised $4.1 million of the $6 million donation pledge goal.

The $6 million, according to Melanie Schwarz, CEO of Corridor Management Group, is a portion of the $12 million in private sector funding that the City Council requested to assist with this endeavor. According to Schwarz, the remaining $6 million will come from grants and other assistance monies that are available.

According to Play It Forward, if the bond is approved, a number of community organizations have promised to provide millions of dollars to fund these programs over the next years.

In the end, the funds allocated to these projects will lessen the financial strain on taxpayers when it comes to paying property taxes, which she believes would ease their financial burden.

“I think the understanding needs to be, that’s how we get projects and new things added to our community is through the bonds and levies,” Schwarz says. “But I fully understand and I do hear it quite often, ‘another one’ but really we need to keep adding gradually to our community so that we are always competitive, we are always a place that people want to live we are always a place where people feel safe. Yes, I understand the tax fatigue problem, but I also think this is a good time to address the parks and add a recreation center to our community.”

Tom Rupsis, a member of the Billings City Council, says that while he too recognizes the strain that a second bond puts on the city, it’s crucial that people understand that their bill would not be affected immediately.

“The bonds won’t be issued all at once. So over the next three to five years, they’ll gradually phase in. so when you see the number on the ballot or calculate what your own tax impact will be understand that it’s going to phase in, probably a third of it next year, and the other third a year or two after that, and a third a year or two after that,” Rupsis explains.

According to Rupsis, their best estimate for the impact of property taxes is $52.62 for each $100,000 of a house’s appraised worth.

Schwarz and Rupsis agree that voters must contribute in order to enhance community value through these reforms, particularly if we wish to preserve our current state of affairs for future generations.

Since 1999, there hasn’t been a park bond on the ballot until this one. On November 7, Election Day, ballots must be submitted.









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