Craig lodging tax proposal finalized

The Craig lodging tax committee finalized Wednesday the ballot question it will submit to the Craig City Council for approval.

The proposed ballot question states the city will collect a 6.9-percent lodging tax and allocate it into four categories.

Three percent of the 6.9 percent will go to tourism marketing, and another 3 percent will fund capitol improvements.

The remaining .9 percent will be split between economic development, which will receive .6 percent, and community beautification, which will receive .3 percent.

The ballot question includes an estimate that the city will collect $550,000 from the tax in the first year based on figures provided by the lodging industry in Craig.

The ballot question must be approved by the city council before it can be presented to voters in November.

Craig City Council member Terry Carwile originally proposed the lodging tax idea in March. He contends the tax can be used to bolster the local economy.

The city council formed the volunteer lodging tax committee to draft details of the ballot question.

Moffat County government currently implements a 1.9-percent lodging tax, which funds the Moffat County Tourism Association.

If Craig voters approve a city lodging tax, the county would not be able to collect its tax within city limits.

Committee members also added campgrounds to its list of areas the tax would collect from, which had already included hotels, apartments, mobile homes and guesthouses that are leased or rented for less than 30 consecutive days.

The committee also amended the ballot question language to place the collected tax revenues in a lodging tax account. The ballot question also states revenue collected from the tax cannot be placed into the city’s general fund.

Wednesday’s meeting started with committee members addressing the ballot question language.

The committee agreed the language should be simple for voters, but detailed enough to make them comfortable to vote for it.

“So many times when you go to the voters on a lengthy question, the longer it is and the more specific it is people just roll their eyes or they see one little thing even though they might have liked 95 percent of it,” MCTA director Marilynn Hill said.

Jay Oxley then made a motion to lump economic development and community beautification with tourism marketing in the ballot question.

The committee voted in favor of the motion, but later re-voted against the measure.

The issue was voted on again after chairman Dave DeRose explained that the city council could change or eliminate those areas if they were not included in the ballot question.

The committee decided its next step will be to start drafting an ordinance to present to the council.

The ordinance and ballot question would go before the city council for approval at the same time.

Committee members were provided the first page of a draft lodging tax ordinance written by city attorney Kenny Wohl.

The committee discussed the possibility of organizing a city board to oversee and manage the potential tax revenues collected from the measure.

The committee also discussed what residents would make up the board and how they would be appointed.

Several questions arose around the subject of requiring board members to be from specific industries like lodging, business, or residents in general.

“I think you need to have citizens at large,” DeRose said. “You don’t want to make this board so large and unwieldy that it can’t get anything done. But, you certainly have to make it to where the proper representation is in the different areas.”

A possible sunset of funds allocated from the ballot question was also discussed.

The committee moved to table discussions of the ordinance, a managing board for the collected revenues, and the sunset of the various funds until its

next meeting.

The next committee meeting will be at 6 p.m. June 2 at Craig City Hall.

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