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Montana Tourism Revenue Reaches Highest Ever

by Tim Hart

In 2013, tourism brought in a record high 3.62 billion dollars into the state of Montana. Sixty percent of tourism related businesses saw their profits rise by 10 percent. According to the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, spending by the 11 million non-resident visitors fully supported 1 out of every 9 Montanans. That number accounted for 34,000 jobs in the entire state.

            Bozeman has become a major hub for tourism in Montana. Bozeman has great tourism in both the summer and winter, due to its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Ski Resort, and Bridger Bowl Ski Resort. 397.3 million dollars was brought into MT from National Parks alone and Bozeman sees much of the benefits from the state’s most famous park.

            Montanans have seen the benefits of increasing tourism. Taxes have lowered and more jobs are being created every day. Locals have warmed up to the idea of marketing the state, although most would still prefer to keep it a well kept secret. But tourism advertising can seen as far as Chicago, where a #MontanaMoment billboard has been placed in the city. Rising tourism will only increase the money being brought into the state and can only help improve the quality of life of its residents.

 

Walden, Kaylee. “Montana Tourism Revenue Reaches Record High in 2013.” Business Journal For Southwest Montana. Page 1. 29 July, 2014.

Introducing Sean McSpadden

by Tim Hart

Sean was born and raised in Bozeman, MT. An outdoorsman, Sean grew up hiking, biking and skiing all around the Bozeman area. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington in 2012, he travelled to Bolivia for a year to learn Spanish. Sean spent the winter teaching children how to ski at Bridger Bowl, while also helping coach the Bozeman High School Speech and Debate team. Now, we are happy to welcome him to the Broker Tim Hart Real Estate Team as our head Marketing and Administrative Assistant. He will be helping optimize the effectiveness of your listing and making sure your property will always be on the forefronts of the Bozeman market. We look forward to better serving you as we continue to grow.

A conservation easement is a legal agreement that permanently protects land from various types of development. The easement spells out the correct and incorrect uses for that land based on its owner’s conservation values. Each one is written to be unique, and specific for each plot of land. Donors of conservation easements maintain ownership over their property and subsequent owners will also retain ownership of the area.

Some people worry that a conservation easement may put them at the mercy of the government. What if the government changes their mind? Do they even have a stake in the land now? Don’t worry. A conservation easement does not let the government control how the land is used. In fact, in regards to the government, conservation easements are quite positive. They can be written off as a charitable contribution and any landowner can deduct the value of the easement from their income taxes for a set number of years. However, due to the fact that the land can no longer be developed, a conservation easement can lower the appraisal value of a property.

Below, please find examples taken from the Montana Land Reliance website that outlines the uses for a conservation easement:

The following are general examples of the types of uses that can be allowed by a conservation easement:

  • Continued agricultural and silvicultural use
  • Construction of buildings, fences, water improvements, etc., necessary for agriculture and compatible with conservation objectives
  • Sale, devise, gifting or other method of transferring parcels, subject to terms of the easement
  • Landowner control of access
  • Additional family and employee residences compatible with conservation objectives
  • Wildlife and fisheries protection, restoration and enhancement projects
  • Any and all uses not specifically prohibited

Types of uses that are generally restricted by a conservation easement include:

  • Subdivision for residential or commercial activities
  • Construction of non-agricultural buildings
  • Nonagricultural commercial activities
  • Dumping of non-compostable or toxic waste
  • Surface mining

A conservation easement assigns three "positive rights" to MLR:

  1. The right to preserve and protect the property according to mutually agreed upon terms.
  2. The right (with proper advance notification to the landowner) to enter the property to monitor activities (usually once a year).
  3. The right to "enjoin and restore," which assures that the landowner's desires, as spelled out in the easement, are enforceable.

The terms of the easement do not in any way negate or modify state or federal law. Specifically, a conservation easement cannot prevent condemnation.

In general, a conservation easement is a great weapon for private property owners who want to conserve their land, the homes they grew up in, and the Montana views they have come to know and love. These easements, although they can initially drop the property value because the land cannot be developed, can do so much to keep the value of a property high. An emptier neighborhood, a unique landscape, or even a historical tract can do a lot to raise the value of any home.

Sources: http://www.mtlandreliance.org/easment.htm; http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/article_d3484fa8-1389-11e4-adb0-001a4bcf887a.html

 

 

 

 

 

Land Trusts and How They Can Serve You

by Tim Hart

With the Montana Land Reliance opening up a new office in Bozeman, any Bozeman property owner would do well to understand what a land trust is and how it can be used. Well, a land trust is quite simple actually. A land trust is any non-profit organization that actively works to conserve land. Usually, a land trust assists private owners who want to keep their land undeveloped. They do this by attempting to conserve what the land has to offer the local area, whether it be farmland, a unique form of wildlife, or just beautiful, open space. Land trusts help private land owners navigate the confusing beauracratic world of land regulations and requirements.

As home construction has gone up, as the Bozeman economy has grown by 5% in the last year, and as Gallatin County has taken the lead in the state for economic growth, conserving the beautiful and agriculturally significant parts of Bozeman becomes more and more important.

A land trust can be used by private property owners to protect themselves, and their land, from irresponsible development. The Montana Land Reliance, for example, is a statewide organization that has conserved 275,000 acres in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. It has also conserved 35,000 acres just in the Gallatin Valley alone. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust, another local land trust, has helped conserve 67 square miles in the valley, again, by teaming with private land owners. Both land trusts hope the growth in Bozeman will not force local, long time farmers to move away from the area.

How are land trusts able to save this land? Land trusts use a legal agreement called a conservation easement. What is a conservation easement? Well lets find out in the following article!

 

Please read the next article on Conservation Easements as they are the method that Land Trusts use to help conserve your land. Find it here http://www.athomeinbozeman.com/blog/What-is-a-conservation-easement-and-how-do-Land-Trusts-use-them-to-conserve-private-property Plus, they are tax deductable! If you would like any more information on either of these Land Trusts, feel free to visit their websites at:

www.mtlandreliance.org

www.gvlt.org

Bozeman Education Taxes to Dip Slightly

by Tim Hart

New construction, continued growth in Bozeman and a larger tax base have allowed the City of Bozeman to lower property tax rates, but still spend more money on education. The Department of Revenue reported that the elementary district has grown by 2.74% while the high school district grew by 2.97%. These numbers reflect the positive growth in Bozeman over the last couple of years, as both construction and real estate seem to have fully recovered from recession. With a larger tax base, Bozemanites can expect to see lower property taxes, yet the schools should be able to hire up to 12 more teachers or counselors for this coming fall semester. The education budget has asked for 70.4 million to spend this year, which is up 1.8% from previous years. As more and more people move to Bozeman looking to raise families in the right schools, Bozeman schools have continued to shine. They have shined so much so that they continue to attract more families, bringing in more money to improve schools, which again attracts more families. Hopefully, this positive trend continues, and Bozeman can help foster the next generation of smarter, more creative leaders.

Bozeman has set up plans to add a 4 bay Tesla recharge station at the local Hilton. Tesla wants all of its drivers to be able to travel across the United States for free, a daring goal, considering rising gasoline prices. Tesla is building stations across major roads in the US and Bozeman seems to have fit the bill. Billings also added a Tesla station about a week ago. These super chargers can recharge a Tesla Model S in 20 minutes compared to an hour from a normal outlet.

Plans have been handed over to the city-planning department and they are waiting for approval. By adding the station, Bozeman can attract a wider variety of people into the city. Tesla owners crossing the country would have to go to Bozeman or Billings (if not both) if they wanted to go through Montana. And for local Bozemanites, owning a fully electric car has become much more feasible. Anyone looking to move to Bozeman now has fully electric alternatives to gasoline.

City of Bozeman Buys Land for Future Sports Complex

by Tim Hart

The City of Bozeman finalized the purchase of an 80-acre piece of land to build a new sports complex. They paid 2 million dollars for the land and will spend 7.5 million dollars in total to build the necessary infrastructure for such a complex. Bozeman plans on building 10 or 11 fields on 40 acres for the first stage of the project, followed by 7 or 8 more fields in the second phase. If private donors are able to raise enough money from private donations, then one of these fields would be turned into a turf field. The sports complex will cost half of the Park and Recreation Department’s budget, the most bond money given to any project like it. The sports complex will be in the same area as an aquatics center that has also been approved. The city will also improve the nearby roads to deal with future traffic, widening both Baxter Lane and Flanders Mill Road. Local residents can now look forward to a new place to pass the football, shoot hoops, or throw a Frisbee.

Real Estate Prices Rise by 8.8 percent in US

by Tim Hart

Realty Biz News reported that real estate prices in the United States have risen by 8.8 percent in 12 months. Prices have also been steadily increasing for around the three years. Every single state noted a marked increase in real estate prices. Hawaii, Nevada, California, New York, Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alaska saw the most improvement, with several of those states hitting new all time highs. These price increases have greatly benefited anyone looking to sell their land or home.

 

Source: http://janaviktoria.realtytimes.com/announcements1/item/29395-u-s-real-estate-prices-up-8-8-year-on-year-and-why-the-housing-market-is-hot

US Forest Service Acquires Sourdough Trailhead

by Tim Hart

The Sourdough Trailhead has new ownership. The US Forest Service, and specifically the Gallatin National Forest, has acquired the trailhead after seven years of negotiations. The previous owners, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, donated the 5.9 acre piece of property containing the trailhead. Since 2005, they had put almost $200,000 into the infrastructure of the trailhead, improving recreational facilities and safety issues. Now, trail-goers will have unlimited access into the Custer-Gallatin National Forest from that trailhead because of the ownership change. In addition, putting such a trail under forest service watch will guarantee the preservation of Sourdough Trail for many years to come. One of the most popular trails in Bozeman, the trail sees a plethora of daily visitors and has become part of the lifestyle of all homeowners in the Sourdough/Kagy area. Visitors may not notice a difference between ownership. But they may notice their own peace of mind, knowing the land is now public, and that it won’t be in danger of development anytime soon.

Gallatin County Fair Sees Huge Attendance Spike

by Tim Hart

This year’s Gallatin County Fair saw a large attendance spike compared to last year. The fair saw a 64 percent increase in tickets sold compared to 2013. Such a large percentage increase could be influenced by a variety of factors. Weather, obviously, can drastically affect the crowd turnout, as well as new exciting acts coming to town with the fair. But these factors cannot account for such a large increase. Perhaps the growth of Bozeman has increased the population the fair can draw from. Other events have also seen an increase in popularity in the last few years, including Sweet Pea and Music on Main. Bozemanites continue to show great pride in their local culture and events, and they seem to come to community-building events in stronger numbers every year.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

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