Proposed lodging tax now set at 6.9 percent

Craig’s lodging tax ballot question is taking form.

A newly formed volunteer lodging tax committee met Wednesday to begin settling details surrounding council member Terry Carwile’s idea to implement a lodging tax within city limits.

The committee unanimously decided to set the proposed tax at 6.9 percent, which was amended from the 6 percent originally proposed.

Former Craig Mayor Dave DeRose was elected to serve as the committee’s chairman.

Carwile presented the lodging tax idea at the March 23 Craig City Council meeting.

An April 7 community workshop fostered positive feedback about the issue and the city council voted, 7-0, on April 13 to form a committee tasked with drafting the potential November ballot question.

The city council must approve the ballot question before it goes on the November ballot.

Carwile said he wanted to implement the tax, collected from people staying in various forms of lodging in Craig, to help invest back in the community.

The idea is that the collected tax would fund marketing, promotions and area events to increase tourism, eventually boosting other forms of tax revenue for the city and improve the local economy, Carwile said.

Three primary topics discussed at Wednesday’s committee meeting were the language of the ballot question, the percentage that should be proposed and the process of educating Craig voters about the tax.

The ballot question language was discussed at length to decide how best to present the question.

Christina Currie, Craig Cham-

ber of Commerce director, said the ballot language should be rigid enough to show voters the city has a plan for the tax money, yet flexible enough to change how the money is utilized if the needs of the city change in the future.

Frank Moe expressed concern that voters might like to see “more direction with what is going to happen.”

“I’m wondering if the citizens and the tax payers are going to want to have an outline of how the money could be spent,” he said.

Carwile said the ballot question should serve to identify how the funds will be used on a basic level, and then specific ordinance language should be drafted after the ballot question is approved.

“Another thing that will get us crossways with the voters is to have some ultra-detailed, convoluted, two-page ballot question that nobody can understand,” he said.

Currie said it might help to have a balance of both — a simple ballot question and a draft ordinance.

“It would help to have some of the ordinance drafted ahead of time to help educate why this is important,” Currie said. “There are people that still don’t understand it’s not a tax that we ourselves pay.”

After the committee reached a general agreement that the ballot language should remain simple, members switched focus to implementing the education portion of the measure.

They discussed the possibility of forming another committee to handle advertising and promotion of the ballot measure but decided to table the discussion.

The committee also discussed how much, if any, of the revenue collected should go toward capitol projects such as a larger visitor center, a convention center or a recreation center.

DeRose said that no matter what parameters the ballot question contains, “as long as we continue to increase the funding and operation of tourism to create more tax base we have accomplished the goal.”

The next committee meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 5 at Craig City Hall. The committee agreed to discuss ballot language pertaining to how the money will be allocated during that meeting.

Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or briansmith@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

George Robertson 3 years, 12 months ago

This is the epitome of taxation without representation! Those burdened with paying the tax have absolutely no say in the matter other than to take their business Elsewhere!

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Cole White 3 years, 12 months ago

So then we should not charge state fuel taxes to out of state truckers and tourist who are using our infrastructure is that what you are saying? And anyone passing through doesn't have to pay sales tax is that right? So when the road are dirt again and no one wants to visit our state because the infrastructure is so bad then the hotel manager and shop owner won't have to worry about paying any income tax because they will be out of business. Loding taxes are much higher in major tourist areas, much higher than what we are currently charging in Moffat County. If you go to Disney World expect to pay 13.4% lodging tax. If you go to Las Vegas you pay 11.5% lodging tax. Just about everywhere you go you pay a much higher loding tax than you do here (google it and see for yourself). While I can understand your concerns I have never, nor have I ever known anyone who said they weren't going to take a vacation to a certain area because the lodging tax was 10% instead of 2%. I've never heard a hunter say "well even though the hunting sucks in seatle, I am going to try and get an elk up there instead of Craig because their loding tax is a $2 bucks less per night." That argument just doesn't hold water.

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lonelyone 3 years, 12 months ago

I thought 6.9% sounded high until reading highway1340's post? What does Steamboat charge? Or Meeker? Should we be in line with what they charge?

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og174 3 years, 12 months ago

Hey 1340--You had an interesting argument going until you refered to Craig in the same sentence as major tourist attractions and then listed Disney Land and Vegas lodging rates in comparision to Craig's. Come on, keep it real!!!

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Cole White 3 years, 12 months ago

OG,

I can understand that comparing Craig and Disney Land is a little absurd but I am sure we capture more people on hunting and camping trips than Disney does. I would also suspect we have more skiers coming through here than Vegas. I guess where you choose to travel depends on why you are traveling.

But it doesn't matter if it's Disney Land, Las Vegas, Jackson WY, or Po-dunkville USA. A 6.9% lodging tax only amounts to around $7.50 on a night stay at the holiday inn here in Craig. I know when I call and ask about a room rate I never ask "so what's the lodging tax." and the hotels never say what the lodging tax is unless you ask specifically

If you want to see what other cities charge though just go to hotels.com and type in the city's name and book a room. Don't finalize your selection just go all the way to check out and see the tax. If you call the number on the hotel you get the same tax rate as they list on hotels.com.

In Denver the tax rate for a $79.99 room at the Ramada is $11.88. OR 14.85% If you don't believe me call yourself the number is 303-373-1600. You get much higher tax rates even when you call other hotels in smaller towns like Cheyenne, WY or Grand Junction. Call the Holiday Inn in Junciton and you'll be informed they charge $109 for a room and $10.61 in tax OR 9.7% in lodging taxes for a total of $120.61 for a night sleep this Wednesay. 9.7% is about 41% higher than we are charging.

I say we rais our rates to 8% here in Craig and use the money to promote our area more and fund other municipal programs.

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DAILYREADER 3 years, 12 months ago

I THINK IT INTERESTING THAT CARWILE WANTS VOTERS TO APPROVE HIS TAX PLAN AND THEN DECIDE WHERE THE FUNDS WILL BE SPENT. TYPICAL GOVERNMENT MUMBO JUMBO. DOES HE REALLY THINK THE VOTERS ARE THAT IGNORANT????????

HOW DOES THE TOURISM BOARD COMMITTEE PLAN TO DRAW THE TOURIST TO CRAIG? I DON'T THINK I HAVE EVER HEARD ANYONE SAY THEY WERE GOING TO TAKE THEIR VACATION IN CRAIG, COLORADO.

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als362 3 years, 12 months ago

Many people each year take thier vacations in Craig. Some several times each year. They come here to hunt. I find it hard to believe that someone that claims to be a daily reader of the newspaper has never heard of out of state or out of town hunters. As I have stated many times I think a rec center is a monumental waste of money. But if one is going to be built, a tax like this is the proper way to get the money to build one. Then it will not cost the people will not use it , or don't want it anything. And there is no taxation without representation in this case. This tax was proposed by an elected official that can be voted out of office if need be. This tax will be a ballot issue, so if it is taxation without representation, then it is your own fault because you didn't go out and vote.

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GreyStone 3 years, 12 months ago

Als362, Seem to remember you saying that the people paying the tax can not vote on it anyway….they will not be represented . 10 April 2010 at 7:53 p.m. als362 (Anonymous) says…

“I doubt that most of the lodging customers that will be paying the tax actually live here. I don't think they can vote unless they live here. The people that own the lodging establishments, will merely be passing the tax on, not paying it. I can't believe the city council is so stupid as to put the kind of burden on a business owner that would require them to not be able to pass this on to the customer.”.

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GreyStone 3 years, 12 months ago

als362 (Anonymous),

That comment is so NOT adult or intelligent…. Very desperate and inhumane.

Get a grip.

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