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Change in code improves city's regulatory authority on transient lodging taxes

Gresham City Council voted to approve the first reading of a bill updating city code dealing with collecting transient lodging tax on the short-term rental market, popularized by services like Airbnb, during its meeting Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 19.

The changes in the code improves the city's regulatory authority to collect transient lodging taxes. It also makes administrative improvements to simplify and clarify the language.

"We realized the language was almost 40 years old," said Bernard Seeger, with finance and management services. "We wanted to update the language to make things clearer."

The bill specifically adds short-term lodging options, like Airbnb and HomeAway, to the list of options the city collects a 1.8 percent tax from. The collection will be done via the state of Oregon, meaning less overhead and time will be needed from city staff to receive the tax. City officials said the expected return from the new taxes is $20,000.

While the state will collect the taxes, the city will still oversee the behaviors of the hosts. The council will vote in April on what regulations are put in place.

With the approval of the first reading, the council will vote on a second reading during its March 19 meeting.

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