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COLUMBIA FALLS — The city of Columbia Falls is taking steps toward implementing a 3 percent resort tax to help pay for emergency services.

State law allows towns with fewer than 5,500 residents that derive a majority of their economic well-being from tourism- and recreation-related business to ask voters to approve up to a 3 percent tax on lodging, bars and restaurants, destination resorts and luxury items.

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The Hungry Horse News reports the city council approved sending a formal request to the Department of Commerce to have the city declared a resort community. Columbia Falls had an estimated 5,300 residents in 2017.

During a recent workshop, council members talked about dividing the estimated $450,000 in annual proceeds with 25 percent each to the fire department, police, roads and property tax relief.

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