Statement of Purpose
The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) program is a state-funded program created by the 2005 Legislature. The program’s legislative purpose is to assist in economic development for Montana that will:
- Create good-paying jobs for Montana residents,
- Promote long-term, stable economic growth in Montana,
- Encourage local economic development organizations,
- Create partnerships between the state, local governments, tribal governments, and local economic development organizations that are interested in pursuing these same economic development goals,
- Retain or expand existing businesses,
- Provide a better life for future generations through greater economic growth and prosperity in Montana,
- Encourage workforce development, including workforce training and job creation, in High-Poverty Counties by providing targeted assistance, and
- Manufacturing ammunition components is a qualified economic development purpose.
ELIGIBLE USES OF FUNDS 90-1-204(2)(c)(ii), MCA:
- Support for business improvement districts and central business district redevelopment,
- Industrial development,
- Feasibility studies,
- Creation and maintenance of baseline community profiles,
- Matching funds for federal funds,
- Preproduction costs for film or media, and
- Administrative expenses, including personnel and operating expenses are allowable expenses for which the BSTF fund may be used, but should not exceed 8% (to a maximum of $2,000) or $750, whichever is greater, of the total award unless otherwise specified by the Department. Example: a funding request for $25,000 may request 8% which equals for a total funding request of $27,000.
Applications which support a critical activity to move an Economic Development project forward and directly assist a basic sector company are the highest priority of the Department.
INELIGIBLE USES OF FUNDS include:
- Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) that are required by the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The Montana Department of Commerce provides funds for this activity through its Certified Regional Development Program,
- Ongoing operating expenses,
- Generally, costs incurred prior to the BSTF funding award date, or
- A project that would result in the transfer or relocation of jobs from one part of the state to another part of the state.
Please contact BSTF program staff for any questions regarding the eligibility of a proposed planning activity prior to submitting an application to the Department.
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS for BSTF Planning Projects funding include any:
- Certified Regional Development Corporations(CRDCs), for projects located within a CRDC region.
- Local or Tribal Government (as defined in the “Definitions” section), for projects located within a local or tribal government’s jurisdiction. The following must accompany the application:
a) A formal governmental resolution supporting the project. For Tribal project, the program will accept an official letter from the tribal chair or president authorizing the application to the Program.
- Local Economic Development Organizations (EDOs), which are located in a county that is not part of a CRDC region and meet program eligibility requirements. To determine if an EDO meets program eligibility requirements refer to the website at www.bstf.mt.gov. Once an EDO is determined eligible, the eligible EDO will not need to resubmit approval documents with each application but rather only if requested by the Program.
The Department shall not award funding to any individual, organization, or governmental unit that is currently in default of the conditions of any loan or grant contract previously executed by the Department.
INELIGIBLE APPLICANTS for BSTF Planning Project funding – EDOs located in counties that are served by CRDCs are not eligible to apply for funding. However, they may be involved in implementing and administering a planning award through an agreement, if the CRDC or tribal government agrees to such an arrangement.
To view a representation of the on-line application, please view Representation of Application attachment below. Copies of the program guidelines are also available in the attachments below.