Craig City Council mulls lodging tax proposal

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At its Tuesday meeting the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 7-0, June bills totaling $651,943.87

• Approved, 7-0, to renew the tavern liquor license for Mathers’ Bar, Inc.

• Approved, 7-0, to proclaim the week of July 24 as disability awareness week.

• Approved, 7-0, to award curb and gutter work on Steele and Fourth Streets to Precision Excavating totaling $37,240.62.

• Approved, 7-0, to award the Craig water plant improvement project to Connell Resources in the amount of $128,048.95 and to add an additional $54,000 and $17,950 for additional asphalt work to the contract.

• Approved, 7-0, resolution No. 9 amending article 14 of the City of Craig Personnel Policies manual.

• Approved, 7-0, a bid for the Craig/Moffat Airport runway project from Hi-Lite Marking totaling $98,244 and a draft grant agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for $75,000.

The Craig City Council addressed the proposed 6.9-percent lodging tax ordinance and ballot question developed over the last few months at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The council heard two sides of the issue — one from the lodging tax committee that developed the ballot question and ordinance, and the other from several residents of the Craig lodging industry who opposed the tax percentage.

The committee is proposing the tax be collected in the city and be divided into four categories related to the improvement of tourism in the area. The committee is also proposing two entities manage the lodging tax money.

Lodging committee chairman Dave DeRose introduced the ballot question and ordinance to city council.

“You have got to market (Craig) so that all the hotels will fill up,” he said. “I realize that they never all will, and that’s OK.

“But if you don’t do something, as an industry and as a community, this industry will be in trouble. We are overbuilt.”

After the lodging tax’s introduction, the city council weighed in on the issue.

The council reached general agreement that the tax is a good idea, although some members took issue with certain items contained in the ordinance.

A group of representatives from the lodging industry then presented a signed petition opposing the rate of the proposed tax to the council.

The petition, which was signed by 15 area hotel representatives, states the group would support the lodging tax up to 4.9 percent.

“Any percentage over that amount we feel would be detrimental to the lodging business in Craig,” the petition states. “The majority of our customers are business travelers who will be passing any increases to their clients as a cost of doing business to those within our community.”

Randy Looper, who co-owns the Elk Run Inn, led the group who presented their individual cases to the council to lower the proposed tax.

“In ten years, the small mom and pops will be out of business, I’ll tell you that right now,” he said. “If you pass this at that rate, and the economy stays the way it is, we’ll be gone.”

Tammie Thompson-Booker, regional director of sales for Candlewood Inn & Suites, attended the meeting to voice her concerns.

She said if the 6.9 percent tax is approved, it would make the total taxes collected on hotels in Craig higher than other cities in the region.

“Us getting this tax now, if it passes in November, not seeing the collection of that until mid-year next year, is not going to save my business or anyone else’s business in the meantime,” she said. “It could certainly force people to go other places.”

Craig voters will ultimately decide if the tax is passed in November’s general election.

City council members are required to approve the ordinance and ballot question twice after its introduction before it can be placed on the ballot.

Comments

taxslave 4 years, 5 months ago

Remember it is those who work "for the city" that are looking for tax increases.

Those of your who represent the industry, who by the way it is you who is suppose to be represented by the council....are being "ignored" by your "elected?" officials again.

Another example of "we the people" don't matter. Tell these "tax committees" to take a hike and get themselves a private job and to leave the taxpayer, no matter where they are from, alone.

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als362 4 years, 5 months ago

Just for taxslave's information. I do not work for the city, and I am very much in support of this. I don't believe those that say thier customers will drive 40 miles to save $3.00. This is a good way to get things for the city without the people that live here paying for them. This type of fee is used everywhere. In fact some cities double up on these types of fees calling them different names but they are all the same. This is a good idea.

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taxslave 4 years, 5 months ago

First off, just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it ok. We teach our kids that one.

What about those who work the industry. They show up with a petition no less. The council was elected to represent their people. They are basically flippin' 'em off. I have a real problem with this.

Why is it ok to take from someone else so you can have what you can't afford to pay for yourself? Where did society learn such a thing.

Highway robbery

Taxation without representation to the traveler.

Love thy neighbor as thyself....not rip thy neighbor off.

You are hurting the small mom and pop businessess and you don't even blink an eye. They are telling you this is going to hurt their businesses but you just don't care.....just as long as you get what you want.

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als362 4 years, 5 months ago

First off, this committee is just getting this ordinance ready to be voted on. At this time, no one is "flipping anyone off". When this goes to the voters then it will be decided whether this ordinance is placed into law or not. Travelers that don't live here, don't recieve or deserve any representation from this city or county. They are represented where they live. Using your analogy, if I don't live somewhere, I am not required to pay the local taxes because I was not represented there. That is really silly! And not how these things work. Also no one on this committee is hurting anyones business. This will be decided by the voters.

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taxslave 4 years, 5 months ago

Who do you go after next when the money again runs short? Dog owners? Smokers again? Candy/soda (oh yeah, Ritter is doing that)..

How is this all going to work when gas is going to go north of 10 bucks a gallon and your electric bill doubles next winter. Are we not to look that far ahead for some reason? On top of these add the largest tax increase in history taking effect on January 1st....just 5 months away.

If you do not know these things then you are not informed and not suitable to present anything to the voters. None of our local representatives mention these things so it's obvious to me they're not suitable for the jobs they hold either.

Time will tell and time to this "currency event" is short. Fasten seatbelts.

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