The Clatsop County Commissioners have approved the last item necessary for the county to take over a DEQ program deemed critical for local homeowners, real estate agencts, and contractors, the transient room tax will go up January 1, 2015 to 9.5% and commissioners approved support for an industrial designation for the North Coast Business Park in Warrenton.
The board approved a memorandum of agreement with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and a fee schedule to facilitate the transfer of the onsite wastewater inspection and permitting program from DEQ to the county's control.
The county Community Development and Public Health departments will administer the program, which manages the inspection, permitting and investigation of complaints for onsite wastewater systems for residences and small commercial properties. The county will officially assume the program June 24.
The board unanimously adopted an ordinance increasing the county transient room tax. The tax will increase from the current 7 percent to 9.5 percent, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
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 will be earmarked for road and other infrastructure work primarily in Arch Cape. The other 70 percent of revenue will be dedicated to tourism promotion or tourist-related facilities, as state law requires for new room taxes.
The original ordinance would have increased the tax from 7 percent to 11 percent. At its May 28 meeting the board, after receiving public input against the increase, voted to reduce the increase to 9.5 percent, and added a provision delaying implementation of the higher tax to 2015.
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.
The board approved a resolution urging the state Economic Recovery Review Council to designate the county-owned North Coast Business Park in Warrenton a Regionally Significant Industrial Area. The designation provides certain advantages in expedited permit approval, prioritization for infrastructure funding, protection from conflicting uses and other areas. The City of Warrenton is set to adopt its own resolution.