The Bend City Council heard from a large number of people, both for and against a proposed 2% increase in the Transient Room Tax.
The question before the Council was whether to put the proposed tax on the may ballot for the voters to decide.
Sean Everett, who works in a hotel is against putting the item on the ballot. “Oregon is supposed to be a state of no tax. And you would be surprised of the look on people’s faces when they see we’ve tacked on 10% to their room. The fights we’ve been in; the people we’ve had to escort out of the lobby, that don’t want to pay the 10% tax. I think it would be detrimental if we increased it 2-more percent.”
Noelle Fredland with the Old Mill District and Les Schwab Amphitheatre is in favor of the tax. “Ouur marketing budget is simply not large enough to significantly impact the regional and multi-state markets that comprise the lion’s share of our visitors. We rely on the efforts of Visit Bend to drive people to our destinations and we court them when they get here.”
70 % of that additional 2% would go to Visit Bend to help market the city and bring in more tourism.
Doug La Placa with Visit Bend offered an alternative: “I don’t believe that this is an urgent item. One possible solution is: lets table it and take a couple of months to consider our options. Let’s take a couple of months or however long its going to take. And if Council wants to go readdress this in the future, we’re ready to re-engage.”
After all speakers had spoken, the Council decided to table the vote and form an ad hoc committee to do more research and then possibly put it on the November ballot.