Estacada City Council mulls 6% lodging tax
The majority of Estacada City Councilors gave an initial thumbs up to an ordinance that would implement a lodging tax.
During a meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, four councilors approved the ordinance, which would add a 6% tax on any dwelling units used for temporary occupancy, including hotels, motels, campsites and other lodging options where occupants stay for fewer than 30 days.
Councilors Jerry Tenbush, Eric Hall, Justin Gates and Mayor Sean Drinkwine voted yes on the ordinance, and councilors Katy Dunsmuir and Luke Wever voted no.
The group will consider the ordinance a second time during a meeting on Monday, Feb. 24. If approved during that meeting, the tax will go into effect this July.
Per Oregon law, a city council can impose a lodging tax if at least 70% of the net revenue is used to fund tourism promotion and tourism related facilities, and less than 30% of net revenue goes toward city services.
The state of Oregon collects a 1.8% lodging tax, and Clackamas County collects a 6% lodging tax. Clackamas County collects approximately $10,000 in transient lodging taxes from short-term dwelling units within Estacada city limits.
In documents prepared for the meeting, Estacada City Manager Denise Carey noted that she contacted leadership in several nearby cities that have a lodging tax.
"I received 5 responses and none of them indicated any negative impacts with their (tax) but all stated that the additional revenue will help promote tourism in their towns. Some of the uses of the funds are: helping fund the Chamber of Commerce, empty the garbage cans and put up banners on their Main Street, promote events and festivals, support the visitor center, and grants for other charities in the community," Carey wrote.
Dunsmuir voted no on the ordinance because it would not solve any particular issue that the city is facing.
"If we're not trying to solve any particular problem, why throw more taxes in the mix? I see the value in a potential tax, but I don't know that our city is there yet," she said. "I'm not saying it won't be valuable someday down the line, but I don't know if 2020 is the time to implement it."
Drinkwine expressed support for the tax because the funds will remain in Estacada.
"(The money is) in our control. It's an opportunity for the future so when we do get a hotel, and we can use it for our little city," he said. "This is a tax we will actually see the benefit of. . .Where your taxes go is where you have to be concerned with. When we talk about protecting our citizens from taxes, we're talking about taxes (with funds that don't) come here in any way."
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