Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | May 22, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Jul 10, 2017

To the Editor:

Aug. l, 2017, marks the date of an important vote for Washington’s citizens. Hopefully all eligible voters will exercise their right to have a say on the issue being brought to vote at that time. On that date it will be decided whether or not Washington’s tax base will be broadened by voting “yes” on the Hotel/Motel TAX Referendum. This tax is looked upon favorably by not only the owners of our local motel establishments but also by many citizens who understand how this tax is one that will not be levied on our residents. This tax will be paid solely by guests who will be staying in a local business that provides overnight accommodations. The tax dollars will be used to enhance Washington as a place to visit. As more people visit our community the more tax dollars they will bring with them to add to our treasury.

We alone of the surrounding communities are not presently benefiting from a hotel/motel tax. The small amount added to a visitor’s bill for lodging is something they are already paying throughout the state and nation. John and I believe our community can only benefit from a simple majority (50percent + 1 vote) agreeing to the passage of this tax. Please mark August 1 on your calendar as the day you exercise your right to have a say in Washington’s future by marking “yes” on your ballot.


John and Karen


Washington, Iowa


To the editor:

On Aug. 1st, 2017, the residents of Washington will have a great opportunity to support local tourism. Let’s start with the dictionary definition of the word tourist: “A person who travels for pleasure, usually sightseeing and staying in hotels.” Some people might be shocked to learn that Washington, Iowa, is a popular tourist destination! As someone whose livelihood depends on tourism, I can assure you it is a vital part of the local Washington economy. Our renovated downtown square, as well as Central Park and the fountain are all worth seeing. Our stores offer great places to shop, and our restaurants are award-winning! The longest running movie theater in the world, state-of-the-art auditoriums offering a wide variety of performances, beautifully maintained historic districts, and the Kewash trail are all worth the drive!

A tourist does not have to come from far away. As a member of the Dodici Inc. family, I know we frequently have guests staying in our night suites from as close by as Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Burlington. It is thanks to these out of town visitors that our business has flourished. We receive many positive comments about our town, but the one I cannot stand to hear is “I had no idea Washington was so lovely and has so much to offer!” Or, “This town is the best-kept secret in Iowa!” We are not doing ourselves any good by hiding the fact that Washington is a worthwhile place to visit and spend the day, night, or weekend!

The main thing we can do to keep the flow of tourists headed our way that has been proven to work, is to invest in media and other promotions. The money for this does not have to come from our pockets, it can be funded via the hotel/motel tax, which is a tax on customers only, not residents. Everyone who spends the night at a hotel in Washington expects to pay this, given that we are the only city this size in Iowa that has not implemented this tax. As a result, we have missed out on about half a million dollars in promotional funds since this referendum was first proposed in 2001 (and did not pass). Let’s not keep Washington a secret any longer! Let’s shout from the rooftops, or better yet, TV sets, that we are a terrific place to visit! More tourism means more people shopping in our stores, more diners eating in our restaurants, and more people buying gas in town. All this is possible if you vote yes on the hotel/motel tax referendum on Aug. 1. The only polling location will be at the Washington County Courthouse; polls will be open from Noon through 8 pm. This is your city, vote to make it better!


Isabella Santoro


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