Craig City Council voices concerns on lodging tax measure
In other action, the Craig City Council
• Approved, 6-0, a request from the Craig Police Department for six computers from Dell totaling $6,302.08.
• Tabled the renewal of the 3.2-percent retail beer license for Loaf ‘N Jug at 2441 W. Victory Way because no representative from the store was present.
• Councilman Byron Willems was absent from the meeting.
The Craig City Council weighed in on a proposed lodging tax ballot question Tuesday during a workshop before its regular meeting.
Discussion from the workshop, which included several members of the lodging tax committee tasked with developing the ballot question for the council’s approval, fostered council concerns about the language of the proposed ballot measure.
The lodging tax committee finalized the ballot question for city council approval at its May 19 meeting.
The city council, however, decided to table approval of the ballot question during its meeting until council member concerns were addressed.
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.
Among the top concerns the city council had included language contained in the first line of the proposed ballot question.
As it was proposed Tuesday, the question reads “Shall the city of Craig taxes be increased $550,000 annually…”
Craig Mayor Don Jones brought up the issue and said the word “taxes” may affect the votes of some residents.
“If I was a voter and I saw that … I would go right to the bottom of the page and check ‘no,’” he said during the workshop.
Jones said he feels the word “revenues” would be a better word to use to favor votes.
Terry Carwile said the ballot measure was drafted to meet requirements outlined by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, also known as TABOR.
“I wanted us to have a … ballot question that made no reference like that in the opening at all,” Carwile said.
The council agreed to investigate the matter further with city attorney Kenny Wohl.
“I think if you can soften the language in any way, this is not a slam dunk … you have got to get it passed, or it’s all a moot point,” said Darcy Trask, Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership director.
The proposed .3 percent allocation of funding for community beautification and how that money would be spent was also discussed.
Council member Jennifer Riley also asked Trask if she would provide the city council an outline of how EDP would use the increased revenues if the ballot measure passes in November.