Local Marketing District proposal brings a wave of questions in Moffat County
With the deadline approaching for community leaders to approve ballot questions on the formation of a Local Marketing District, here is what you need to know:
What is the Local Marketing District?
The Local Marketing District is a way to collect funding for economic development ventures, such as promoting tourism, supporting business recruitment, management and development, and organizing public events. If formed, the governing body would consist of representatives from Moffat County, the city of Craig and the town of Dinosaur.
The revenue would come from a 4 percent tax on hotels and accommodations in Moffat County, added on top of the existing 1.9 percent lodging tax and 7.9 percent sales taxes.
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.
What are the requirements for getting it on the ballot?
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. The petitions have been collected and certified, according to Craig City Attorney Sherman Romney.
Now, the town of Dinosaur, Moffat County and Craig must hold public meetings on the subject and pass ballot resolutions before Sept. 4.
The first joint public meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 31 at Moffat County Courthouse’s main conference room.
Moffat County Commissioners will have their LMD meeting at 9:15 a.m. Sept. 1 in the county chambers; Craig City Council’s meeting will be held at 5:30 Sept. 1 at Craig Municipal Building and Dinosaur will have its meeting 2 p.m. Sept. 1 at Dinosaur Town Hall.
What does the ballot question do?
The ballot questions is the opportunity for voters to decided whether or not the town of Dinosaur, city of Craig and Moffat County should form the LMD and garner an additional four percent lodging tax for the purpose of economic development.
Dinosaur, Craig and Moffat County will have identical ballot questions.
A draft of the city’s resolution on organizing a local marketing district is available in Craig City Council’s Tuesday meeting packet. Romney said the resolutions would continue to be available through the three governmental agencies.
Does the meeting schedule give government officials enough time to consider the public comment?
Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe and Craig Mayor Ray Beck said there would be enough time for city, town and county attorneys to consider substantive comments provided at the Sept. 1 meetings and adapt the referendum before it is submitted on Sept. 4., if that is the case.
“Given the fact that we have until four or five on the fourth, that would still give us a couple days to take whatever the comment was into consideration and pass it on to the attorneys,” he said.
However, Moe said the primary purpose of the public meetings is to ask residents if the question should be on the ballot, then specifics of the operating plan will be developed for the consideration of voters before the November election.
What if there are disagreements over the LMD’s operating plan?
Romney said there is specific language being drafted into the LMD referendum that prevents a single entity from hindering the approval of an operating plan.
“There shouldn’t be any veto power, it will be three entities working together,” he said.
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