Madison County Commissioners allocate money to help buy new Skyline busses

At their weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Madison County Board of Commissioners carried a motion to make a one-time contribution to the Skyline Bus System in Big Sky not to exceed $15,000 toward the purchase of two new 35-passenger busses.

The contribution is in addition to the annual $30,000 the county provides in operational support to the transportation system.

Skyline’s local ridership is up 10 percent from Bozeman to Big Sky and 25 percent from last year in Big Sky alone, said David Kack, spokesman Big Sky Transportation District. The busses will transport the increased number of riders around Big Sky during the winter, and when traffic tapers off during the summer they will transport passengers between Bozeman and Big Sky.

Currently the district owns one 55-passenger motor coach and three 25-passenger busses.

“These are getting us to where we’ll have the fleet that we need,” Kack said.

Commissioners supported the request because the transportation system is important to commerce in Big Sky and the community as a whole, as well as the safety implications of reduced traffic between Bozeman and Big Sky.

“Big Sky contributes a great deal to Madison County,” Commissioner Dan Happel said. “I think it’s important we reciprocate in kind.”

The board also carried a motion for a resolution of intent to create a special parks, trails and recreation district in Big Sky. The joint non-taxing district covers area in both Madison and Gallatin Counties and would be governed by an interlocal agreement. Commissioners will allow 30-day period for public comment on the issue before taking final action on the issue.

This week’s meeting was held at the Huntley Lodge in Big Sky to take public comment on plans for office expansion and handicap accessibility at the county courthouse in Virginia City.

In other news, Commissioner Dave Schulz cleared recent rumors about concerning a leak in the main sewage line at the Tobacco Root Mountains Care Center in Sheridan. Residents of the facility will be temporarily relocated while repairs are made to the line, which lies directly under a main hallway. The project will take a minimum of two weeks and residents may return once repairs are complete.

The board will hold a public hearing next week for the fiscal year 2011-2012 final budget at their regular meeting in Virginia City.

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