Craig committee discusses lodging tax management

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The Craig lodging tax committee determined Wednesday how it will manage the proposed 6.9-percent lodging tax, should voters approve the measure later this year.

Dave DeRose, lodging tax committee chairman, said the committee outlined how a managing committee would be established, and what qualifications committee members would be required to have.

In November’s general election, voters will decide whether to approve the tax, which proposes collecting a 6.9-percent fee on various forms of lodging within Craig city limits. Funds collected would be allocated into four categories.

Three percent would go toward tourism marketing, and another 3 percent would fund capitol improvements. The remaining .9 percent would be split between economic development, which will receive .6 percent, and community beautification, which will receive .3 percent.

Two committees will manage the tax, DeRose said.

The first committee would be comprised of three Craig residents, DeRose said.

One member each would represent economic development, community beautification and the lodging industry, the committee chairman said.

The first committee would be responsible for overseeing 3.9 percent of the lodging tax, or the capitol improvements, community beautification and economic development categories.

The committee would report to the Craig City Council, and also oversee the second committee, DeRose said.

The second committee would be comprised of five Craig residents and one ex-officio city councilor. It would be broken down to include two members from the lodging industry, two residents at large and one representative from the restaurant and bar industry.

The second committee will be responsible for 3 percent of the tax, earmarked for tourism marketing, and also for the hiring and oversight of a director for the second committee, DeRose said.

The decision to separate management of tourism marketing from the first committee came about because the lodging committee felt it was more flexible and needed the influence of a variety of residents to successfully use the collected taxes, DeRose said.

“We want to build this committee as the sales and marketing … that is their passion and drive,” he said.

Development of the two man-

-aging committees was part of the lodging tax committee’s efforts to draft a city ordinance to manage the collected taxes.

The ordinance would need approval from the city council before the November election, city attorney Kenny Wohl said.

Wohl is helping draft the ordinance and is using Loveland’s lodging tax ordinance as an examble.

DeRose said the committee was able to trim several pages from the Loveland ordinance and shape it to meet the committee’s specifications during the meeting Wednesday.

The committee also asked Wohl to investigate the actions the state would take if any lodging establishments did not pay the tax.

The committee determined that it would let the two managing committees be in charge of developing its own bylaws, instead of writing them into the ordinance, DeRose said.

The ballot question was also revisited Wednesday, DeRose said.

The lodging tax committee finalized its ballot question and sent it to city council for approval May 25, but the council tabled the issue.

Craig Mayor Don Jones took issue with the first line of the ballot question, which reads “Shall the city of Craig taxes be increased $550,000 annually…”

Jones felt the word “revenues” would be a better word to use instead of “taxes” to favor votes. Jones asked councilor Terry Carwile to discuss the matter with Wohl.

Wohl addressed the matter with the lodging tax committee Wednesday and confirmed the word “taxes” must remain in the ballot question to meet the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, also known as TABOR.

DeRose said he hopes to have the ordinance finalized at the committee’s next meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 16 at City Hall in the downstairs conference room, but may be rescheduled.

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