On November 8, the Ravalli County Commissioners agreed to a settlement agreement in the case of Rental Property and Management Services LLC, doing business as City Center Motel versus Ravalli County and the Tourism Business Improvement District.
According to MACO Attorney Mitch Young, the City Center Motel challenged the legitimacy of the District and the case was dismissed in District Court on summary judgment in favor of the county and the TBID. The City Center Motel appealed that ruling to the Montana Supreme Court and the case went into mediation. Young said that he told the attorney for the motel that he essentially didn’t see anything to settle since the county didn’t do anything wrong. In discussions that followed, however, he said one issue did come up that probably does need to be addressed.
According to the by-laws of the TBID, they have the power to appoint their own successors, but the statute states that the Board of County Commissioners make the final appointment. He said it does not preclude the county from accepting recommendations from the TBID board but the final decision rests with the county at an open public meeting.
Young said that the whole purpose of the settlement is simply to ensure that the TBID board goes through the process of changing its by-laws to acknowledge that the Board of County Commissioners makes the final appointment with an opportunity for public comment before the appointment is made. He noted that language was being included to also ensure that the Commissioners could re-appoint the current board members that were selected by the TBID board if they so choose.
Deputy County Attorney Howard Recht recommended that the Commissioners adopt the settlement agreement and the Commissioners approved it on a 4 to 0 vote. Commission Chair Jeff Burrows was absent.