Ballot questions set for Local Marketing District for Craig, Moffat County
September 1, 2015
After weeks of discussion and drafting, Moffat County Commission, Craig City Council and Dinosaur Town Council adopted resolutions Tuesday to put the Moffat County Local Marketing District to a vote.
If approved by voters in November, the district would collect a 4 percent tax on rooms and accommodations in Moffat County to be used for economic development ventures.
"To me, it's really kind of a no-brainer," said Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid. "I think it's going to be good for the community. We're not taxing ourselves extra for this."
At a joint public hearing on Monday, the three entities refined the resolution based on comment from Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, Moffat County Tourism Association, Craig Chamber of Commerce and members of the community.
"I think communication and collaboration is just going to be a big key to making sure all the parts and pieces are together," said MCTA Director Melody Villard. "Obviously it's not going to hurt us to have some more funding but we need good communication, coordination as we do it."
The initial governing body for the LMD would consist of all members of the boards or councils for Craig, Dinosaur and Moffat County. It would be the responsibility of the initial board to form a regular board, which must consist of at least two representatives from Craig and Moffat County and one from Dinosaur.
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At the Monday hearing, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christina Oxley expressed concerns about the resolutions' vagueness in establishing the regular board.
"The board makeup has been part of the ancillary discussions so I think that if it's not addressed in resolution, which I agree that complicates things, the operating plan needs to get specific," she said.
The ballot question includes a sunset provision that sends the LMD back to a vote in 10 years. If it isn't reapproved, it will be dissolved.
"If we are confident that this is the right thing for our community, we shouldn't be afraid to put that in there," said Craig Mayor Ray Beck.
Before the resolutions could be adopted, supporters of the local marketing district had to collect signatures from commercial property owners representing 50 percent of the total assessed commercial property value in Moffat County — around $18 million.
Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe, who owns Deer Park Inn & Suites, said the majority of hoteliers support the LMD, and he doesn't think the tax would negatively affect his business.
The 4 percent LMD tax would be in addition to the current 1.9 percent lodging tax, which directly funds MCTA, and a 7.15 percent sales tax. The resulting 13.05-percent room tax would be about 1.5 to 4.5 percentage points higher than those in neighboring Steamboat Springs, Meeker or Vernal, Utah.