Washington Evening Journal
https://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1674756

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

Hotel-motel tax election tomorrow

By David Hotle | Jul 31, 2017

 

 

On Tuesday, the citizens of the City of Washington will decide if the city should implement a hotel-motel tax on patrons of the lodging establishments in the city.

Absentee voting can be done in the auditor’s office until 11 a.m. Tuesday. Polls are scheduled to open in the Washington County Courthouse at noon Tuesday for the vote. The only polling place in Washington will be in the courthouse basement. Polling hours on Tuesday, Aug. 1, will be noon to 8 p.m. The results of the election will be reported on the Washington Evening Journal website as soon as they become available.

“Hotel-motel taxes are something that many communities have that we don’t,” Main Street Washington director Sarah Grunewaldt said in a previous interview. “It is a valuable tool for those communities.”

If approved, the measure would levy a 7 percent tax on the renting of rooms in any motel, inn or lodging. Grunewaldt stressed the tax wouldn’t be a tax levied on property owners in Washington County, rather it would be collected from people who rent lodging in the city.

Revenues from the tax, which are projected to be about $30,000 to $40,000 annually, are state-mandated to be used to promote the area. A committee will be set up to determine how the money will be used. It can be used for tourism, community improvement or promotion.

The community has voted on whether to have a hotel/motel tax in the past and it has been voted down. The most recent time the issue was voted on was in 2009, and the result was 67 percent of the people who voted opposed the tax.

The City of Washington had asked the Washington Chamber of Commerce to promote a referendum for a hotel-motel tax in 2016, but the vote was put off until this year due to the city hosting the RAGBRAI bicycle ride for an evening.

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