BILLINGS – Hope is not a strategy to sustain the future of Billings. Instead, planning and perseverance will be required for a bright future, according to speakers at the Billings Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon Tuesday.
“Our heritage as a community and the arts and history of Bililngs will tie into future growth plans. One Big Sky project, developing the convention center and downtown living and the medical corridor, that’s very important to us,” said John Brewer, chamber president and CEO, at the Billings Hotel.
Brewer added that this year’s priority is to focus on the development of Billings downtown core as an economic hub for the entire region and state.
“Working with the airport and that expansion, it’s about a $40 million expansion going on at the airport and the remodel. We want to work with them to make sure that when people arrive in our town, that they get a taste of what Billings is. It’s a legislative year, so it’s very important as we talk about all of these projects that really will drive us into the future. That there are potential economic tools that are given to us and provided at state level that allow us to take our future into our own hands, “ Brewer said.
He added that this year is especially important because it’s a legislative year.
Brewer noted the chamber plans to lobby again for local option sales tax authority, a top priority for the chamber in past legislative sessions. This legislation would give local governments in Montana the option to impose a sales tax to pay for economic development, infrastructure and other needs.
Reporting by Zoe Zandora, MTN News