Bend Transit Room Tax Proposal Approved for November Ballot by City Council

first_imgBend Transit Room Tax Proposal Approved for November Ballot by City Council Google+ Facebook 0 LinkedIn E-Headlines By CBN on July 11, 2013center_img Last night the Bend City Council sent a revised room tax increase proposal to voters for consideration. The council voted 5 to 2 in favor of the measure with Victor Chudowsky and Scott Ramsay in opposition.Representatives of various industry groups including Mt. Bachelor, Visit Bend, Old Mill District, The Riverhouse and arts organizations met over the past month to explore compromise opportunities on a proposed transit room tax increase. Deliberations produced a revised proposal that went to the city council July 10.The resolution referred to the voters a measure to increase the temporary lodging tax rate from 9 to 10 percent effective June 1, 2014 and then from 10 percent to 10.4 percent effective June 1, 2015. 30 percent of the proceeds received by the City resulting from the increase would be used for police and fire services. It is anticipated that the portion of the increase devoted to tourism promotion (70 percent of the additional proceeds) will be used to market Bend as a destination to select markets and to market off-peak tourism seasons. That portion includes a Cultural Tourism component.Jim Kinney represented Mt. Bachelor and spoke in support of the resolution. Doug LaPlaca of Visit Bend and on behalf of the Bend Tourism, Arts and Public Safety (who produced the original proposal) thanked Council for its time and the process that created the compromise. Wayne Purcell of The Riverhouse also thanked the Council for the process.Councilor Barram moved for adoption by roll call vote of the Resolution calling for an election on an increase in room tax rates, Councilor Capell seconded the motion.Councilor Chudowsky who was not in favor of the resolution asked to look at the composition of the Visit Bend board and include a wider range of interests. There was discussion about the Visit Bend board but Mary Winters asked to separate that issue from the proposed ballot measure.Councilors Barram, Knight, Capell, Russell,and Mayor Clinton spoke in support of the resolution. Mayor Clinton said he supported the proposal for several reasons including that it would make a strong statement that Bend was ready to advance the arts.Councilor Ramsay would not support a tax stating that those that pay it don’t have a say and those voting don’t have to pay it.Mayor Clinton said he supported the proposal for several reasons, including that it would make a strong statement that Bend was ready to advance the arts.  Good stuff.Following a city council public hearing June 19, the Bend Tourism, Arts and Public Safety Initiative leadership group hosted two meetings with a group opposing the transit room tax increase. “The purpose of the meetings was to explore compromise opportunities,” said Doug La Placa, executive director of Visit Bend. “I’m pleased to report our negotiations produced a revised TRT proposal that maintains the core objectives of the original BendTAPS proposal, and satisfies some of the oppositions’ concerns. “The group that met and developed a cooperative concept included La Placa, Dave Rathbun of Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, Wayne Purcell of The Riverhouse, Heather Kaur of Super 8 Motels, Ray Solley of the Tower Theatre, Noelle Fredland of Old Mill District, Ben Perle of The Oxford Hotel Group, Sue Carrington of Bend Dutch Vacation Rentals, Kelly Cannon-Miller of Des Cutes Historical Society and Pamela Hulse Andrews of Cascade Publications Inc.While the final proposal did not make everyone happy, the group collectively agreed that a compromise was necessary in order to move forward in a unified approach that will benefit the community as a whole.The net result of the negotiations is a proposal to increase Bend’s TRT rate from 9 to 10.4 percent, rather than to 11 percent as originally proposed. Funds raised from the increase will be used to support public safety, economic development through marketing of Bend and a Cultural Tourism Trust for the arts. The marketing component will largely be dedicated to expand Bend’s tourism reach into Seattle and North California to attract visitors and investment from these important, yet currently untapped markets.“As with any compromise, we had to make sacrifices to our original proposal,” explained La Placa. “However, the BendTAPS leadership group is confident our sacrifices are far outweighed by the benefits of moving forward with a more unified proposal with the lodging industry.” Tumblr Twitter Share. Pinterest Emaillast_img read more