Committee decides lodging tax allocations |

Committee decides lodging tax allocations

Brian Smith

The Craig city lodging tax committee has decided how it wants the potential tax to be allocated, if approved by voters later this year.

The volunteer lodging tax committee met Wednesday night to continue discussions surrounding council member Terry Carwile's idea to implement a lodging tax within city limits.

Committee members decided to break the proposed 6.9-percent lodging tax, a percentage reached at their first meeting, into four categories.

The committee voted unanimously to allocate 3 percent of the 6.9 percent to fund marketing, promotions and event funding. Another 3 percent will fund capitol projects such as a visitor center and/or community center.

The Craig/Moffat County Economical Development Partnership will receive .6 percent and .3 percent will be allocated to fund community beautification projects.

Carwile originally proposed the idea of implementing the tax in Craig during the March 23 Craig City Council meeting.

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Carwile contends the result of added marketing and promotion will eventually boost other forms of tax revenue for the city and improve the local economy.

Before being passed, the tax needs the approval of Craig voters in November.

The volunteer committee was organized by the city council to draft details of a ballot question.

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

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.

The meeting began with committee chairman Dave DeRose asking committee members if the original 6.9-percent tax approved by the committee was what they wanted to move forward with.

DeRose said he had heard some committee members were unhappy with the percentage agreed upon.

Tammie Thompson-Booker, regional director of sales for Candlewood Suites, said she felt the percentage was too high.

Thompson-Booker said she might have to lower room rates to accommodate for business-oriented travelers who have a per day budget to spend.

Committee members discussed whether customers of the lodging industry would notice the tax, and if that tax might drive customers to stay in other cities with lower taxes.

Jay Oxley said he felt the tax was a "one-time deal," and the city would likely not be able to go back and raise the percentage.

"We need to go for something that is fair but is not going to tip anybody (to other cities)," he said. "We need to get as much as we possibly can and then be very creative and trust worthy with how it is being spent.

"This is something we need to look clear into the future with because it is going to be there a long time."

Committee members then agreed on 3 percent of the 6.9 percent to be allocated for marketing, promotion and event funding, citing the MCTA board's current budget.

Members agreed that lowering the amount of money spent on marketing of the area would not fit with the goal of the tax.

Among the biggest capitol project items discussed was a new visitor center.

Frank Moe said he would like to see a larger visitor center with more multimedia and educational aspects than are currently offered.

The decision to help fund EDP and community beautification through the tax fund was approved, 5-2, with several members abstaining.

Some committee members felt the tax shouldn't be used to pay for EDP or community beautification.

The next committee meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 19 at Craig City Hall.

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