Four percent lodging tax to appear on ballot

By Sarah Pridgeon

The County Commissioners have passed a resolution to place a two percent increase to the current lodging tax on this year’s ballot, doubling the amount that has been collected since the measure first passed in 1989. The move was made at the request of the Crook County Promotion Board, represented at the meeting by Andrea Wood and Steve Lenz.

“As you are aware, tourism is a vital component of Crook County’s economy,” said Wood in a letter presented to the board.

“It is a strong employer throughout the county and millions of visitors spend money in our gas stations, restaurants, gift shops, lodging facilities and more.”

The lodging tax has appeared on the ballot every four years since 1989 and has passed each time. It is, said Wood’s letter, the only tax that is paid almost exclusively by out-of-county visitors.

The Crook County Promotion Board requested that the two percent lodging tax be increased to four percent. The tax would be placed on the sales tax price paid for lodging services within the county and would be used, as it has always been, to promote local travel and tourism to generate economic impact and growth.

“The Crook County Promotion Board’s budget would be comprised of two percent of the tax with the second two percent earmarked for advertising and event support in the municipality or county area in which it was generated,” said Wood’s letter.

Resolutions of support for the increase were presented to the commissioners from all four municipalities, said Lenz. The promotion board suggested the same wording on the ballot that has always been used, he said, with a slight change to reflect that a four percent tax would now be collected instead of a two percent tax.