The proposal stems from a board work session discussion in April on funding options for infrastructure repairs and improvements in the Arch Cape community. Thirty percent of the additional revenue generated by the tax increase would be earmarked for road and other infrastructure work primarily in Arch Cape. The other 70 percent of revenue would be dedicated to tourism promotion or tourist-related facilities, as state law requires for new room taxes.
The ordinance would have increased the tax from 7 percent to 11 percent. On Wednesday the board, after hearing testimony against the increase from two citizens, voted 4-1 to reduce the increase to 9.5 percent, and added a provision delaying implementation of the higher tax to Jan. 1, 2015, with Commissioner Matt Samuelson voting no. A public hearing on the ordinance will be continued to June 11, when the board will take a final vote.
The room tax, imposed on all motels, vacation rental homes and other lodging establishments in the unincorporated county, annually generates approximately $180,000, which currently goes into the county's General Fund. As much as 85 percent of the revenue collected through the tax each year comes from Arch Cape and Cove Beach.