Bullock Issues Attorney General Opinion Involving the Incorporation of Municipalities Within Resort Areas
HELENA – In a formal opinion released this week, Attorney General Steve Bullock found that a municipality may be incorporated within the boundaries of an unincorporated resort area or resort area district. Bullock also held that incorporation of a municipality doesn’t dissolve an existing resort area, nor does it remove the newly incorporated area from the resort area.
Resort areas and resort area districts are unincorporated areas in Montana that derive the primary portion of their economic well-being from recreation and are created by petition and election. These communities may levy their own resort tax and decide how the proceeds are spent.
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert requested the opinion in response to a proposal by local residents to incorporate a new Town of Big Sky, which would lie wholly within the existing Big Sky Resort Area District. In requesting input from Bullock, Lambert asked whether an area within a resort area can incorporate, and if it does, what consequences would follow.
Opinions of the attorney general carry the weight of law unless a court overturns them or the legislature modifies the laws involved.