Lodging tax increase proposed

Grace Moore photo
Steve Lenz.

Crook County Promotion Board member Steven Lenz spoke to the Pine Have council and Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Pomarane at last Tuesday’s meeting about a discussion held between Mayor Suchor and the board a couple of years ago regarding the possibility of changing the lodging tax in the county from the current two percent to the maximum allowable by statute, which is four.

“At that time, it didn’t really gather any speed behind it, but it is now,” Lenz said.

Under the two percent in 2017, Pine Haven collected $563 in lodging tax; Hulett, approximately $18,000; Sundance, about $33,000, Moorcroft, almost $6000; and Crook County, nearly $23,000. Crook County has charged the two percent tax since 1989.

Lenz suggested that the second two percent, if approved, could be returned to the entities collecting said tax. “They are currently doing this in Converse County. They take a certain percentage and use it to operate as a joint powers board and then a certain percentage goes back to where it was gathered,” he said.

The local promotion board, according to Lenz, is proposing a similar set up in Crook.

“The great thing about it is that the promotion board does a wonderful job promoting the entire county and this would send a certain amount of money back to each of those communities,” he said.

He expounded that the funds would actually remain in the promotion board’s budget, “but the entities can apply for grants to purchase bill boards and advertisements, things that put heads in beds.”

The resolution approving this action has been approved by Sundance and the County Commissioners are willing to move forward with the idea, Lenz said. He asked the governing body to “climb on board” so the four percent can be added to the ballot this year. The council in attendance approved making a resolution to support the lodging tax increase.