County Seeks To Hike Occupancy Tax To Benefit Lakes, Waterways | News, Sports, Jobs

County Seeks To Hike Occupancy Tax To Profit Lakes, Waterways | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

Chautauqua County Government PJ Wendel desires to extend the tax the county collects from trip renters and use that cash to learn Chautauqua Lake and different native lakes and streams.

This week, Wendel met with each the county Legislature’s Administrative Companies and Audit and Management committees to debate the proposal.

People who hire inns, motels, mattress and breakfast institutions, and Airbnbs in Chautauqua County are charged an occupancy tax. That fee is presently 5%; Wendel want to see that elevated to eight%.

As a way to improve that fee, each the county Legislature and the New York State Legislature should give approval.

Of the 5% that’s presently collected, Chautauqua County makes use of 60% of it to advertise tourism and 40% of it to boost the county’s lakes and tributary streams. Wendel mentioned he would love the extra 3% improve, if accredited, to go the county’s lakes and tributary streams.

One of many causes he’s proposing this alteration is to have more cash to guard and rehabilitate Chautauqua Lake. “I’m asking for an modification be made to extend the occupancy tax to eight%. The extra 3% can be utilized in establishing a lake upkeep fund to assist create sustainable funding for Chautauqua Lake,” he mentioned on the Administrative Companies Committee assembly Monday.

In the course of the Audit and Management Committee assembly Thursday, Wendel clarified that the cash can be eligible for all lakes and waterways. “This is not going to be Chautauqua Lake unique,” he mentioned.

The quantity of recent cash collected, if accredited, is round $600,000 to $700,000, relying on what number of vacationers hire in Chautauqua County on an annual foundation.

Wendel mentioned a part of the explanation he’s proposing it is because non-residents would be the ones paying the additional cash. “This isn’t a tax that shall be borne on county residents,” he mentioned.

It additionally doesn’t have an effect on lodge charges. Customers can be charged on the finish of a transaction, like gross sales tax.

Legislator Susan Parker, D-Fredonia, expressed issues throughout Monday’s assembly about how the cash can be spent.

Wendel mentioned the cash is presently designated to a particular account and organizations apply to that fund for varied tasks. That course of would proceed with the upper quantity.

Many residents over time have known as on New York state to make enhancements to Chautauqua Lake, since its technically the state that owns it. Wendel mentioned though these calls proceed to be made by our state representatives and himself, getting New York to pay for enhancements is unlikely.

“It’s a type of issues, there’s 6,000, 7,000 lakes … so to present cash to every one within the governor’s funds is difficult,” he mentioned.

Parker requested if the 8% was too excessive and discourage individuals from renting in Chautauqua County.

Wendel didn’t assume it might. “I don’t essentially consider it might deter anyone,” he mentioned. “For instance, proper now in case you have a $100 lodge room, you pay $5. In case you have a $100 lodge room, you would need to pay $8. I don’t assume that $3 goes to discourage anyone from coming to Chautauqua Lake or the county as a trip vacation spot.”

Legislator Lisa Vanstrom mentioned she believes the common occupancy fee nationwide is 12%. She voiced her assist for the rise as a result of she believes extra must be finished to Chautauqua Lake.

“If we do nothing, nothing will occur. If we assist one thing good, that isn’t unusual throughout the nation, I believe it can make a noticeable distinction,” she mentioned.

When the time got here to vote in Administrative Companies, Parker voted no, saying she wanted extra data. She additionally needed extra assurances that the cash might be used for different lakes as nicely together with Lake Erie. All different committee members voted in favor of it.

As regards to Lake Erie, Wendel famous that it has acquired $15 million over the past three years, however added that if there’s a challenge for Lake Erie that wants occupancy tax funds, the legislature would have the authority to approve it.

After the assembly, Parker despatched an e-mail to the county Chamber of Commerce to inquire if it helps the rise.

She additionally despatched an e-mail to all legislators, Wendel and varied different county staff asking for particulars of how the present occupancy tax cash is spent and requested for detailed plan for the brand new potential income.

On the Audit and Management Committee assembly Thursday, committee members there unanimously endorsed the proposal. There are not any Democrats on the committee.

The proposal now goes to the complete legislature for a ultimate vote. If the county legislature votes in favor of the rise in occupancy tax, that laws goes to the state legislature the place ultimate approval can be wanted with the intention to happen.

Whereas Wendel admitted there’s no assure the state will give Chautauqua County permission to lift the occupancy tax to eight%, he’s hopeful as a result of different locations within the state have the next fee than Chautauqua County does.

Wendel added that in some locations, like Erie County, a few of the occupancy tax collected goes to the overall fund. He mentioned he doesn’t assist that. “My dedication is and can proceed to be, that 100% of this funding goes again to the trade — journey/tourism and our lakes and waterways,” he mentioned.

Wednesday’s legislature assembly will happen at 6:30 p.m. At that assembly Wendel shall be giving his annual State of the County deal with and mentioned he’ll supply different plans to fund and enhance Chautauqua Lake.

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