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Temporary room rentals will be taxed in order to collect money for promoting tourism in the area

The Forest Grove City Council unanimously approved a Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) Monday night, Nov. 27, hoping it will draw more tourists to the city.

The TLT will be charged on temporary room rentals (meaning less than 30 days) for lodging in local hotels, motels, inns, houses, cabins, condominuiums, apartments, or other dwelling units (or portions of them), as well as spaces used for overnight parking of occupied recreational vehicles. Nonprofits, such as emergency shelters, are exempt.

While state law allows 30 percent of a TLT's net revenue to be used for city services, Forest Grove's version would direct 100 percent of the revenue to tourism.

Tourism-related projects could range from strategic planning to building a tourist facility to marketing special events to operating tourism agencies.

The tax would collect 2.5 percent of the room rental's value. That amount would be added on to a 9 percent TLT already imposed by Washington County and a 1.8 percent TLT imposed by the state, adding up to a total of 10.8 percent in TLTs for Forest Grove residents.

Mayor Pete Truax noted the original proposal was for a 2 percent tax and was a bit concerned over the .5 percent increase, but said he has been reassured that hotel owners and the other affected parties support the amount.

The tax would bring in about $100,000 a year.

It was created after roughly a year of discussion among the 13 members of a Temporary TLT Ad-Hoc Advisory Group.

The group also recommends establishing a Tourism Stakeholder Committee and a three-member Executive Committee to oversee four tourism programs: a part-time tourism coordinator, a capital projects fund, a promotion and marketing fund and an innovative projects and events development fund.

The TLT will begin Jan. 1, 2018, and contains a 10-year sunset provision.

The council also voted to let Washington County collect the tax — as it does for other cities — at a cost of .33 percent.

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