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

Chautauqua County Govt PJ Wendel desires to extend the tax the county collects from trip renters and use that cash to profit 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 accommodations, motels, mattress and breakfast institutions, and Airbnbs in Chautauqua County are charged an occupancy tax. That price is at the moment 5%; Wendel wish to see that elevated to eight%.

With the intention to enhance that price, each the county Legislature and the New York State Legislature should give approval.

Of the 5% that’s at the moment collected, Chautauqua County makes use of 60% of it to advertise tourism and 40% of it to reinforce the county’s lakes and tributary streams. Wendel mentioned he would love the extra 3% enhance, 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% could 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 could 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’s 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 could 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 could be spent.

Wendel mentioned the cash is at the moment designated to a particular account and organizations apply to that fund for numerous 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 kind of issues, there’s 6,000, 7,000 lakes … so to offer cash to every one within the governor’s funds is difficult,” he mentioned.

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

Wendel didn’t assume it might. “I don’t essentially imagine it might deter anyone,” he mentioned. “For instance, proper now in case you have a $100 lodge room, you pay $5. When 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 price nationwide is 12%. She voiced her help for the rise as a result of she believes extra must be carried out to Chautauqua Lake.

“If we do nothing, nothing will occur. If we help one thing good, that isn’t unusual throughout the nation, I believe it’ll 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 wished extra assurances that the cash might be used for different lakes as properly 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 during the last three years, however added that if there’s a mission 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 numerous different county workers 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 aren’t any Democrats on the committee.

The proposal now goes to the total legislature for a last vote. If the county legislature votes in favor of the rise in occupancy tax, that laws goes to the state legislature the place last approval could be wanted to be able to happen.

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

Wendel added that in some locations, like Erie County, a few of the occupancy tax collected goes to the final fund. He mentioned he doesn’t help that. “My dedication is and can proceed to be, that 100% of this funding goes again to the business — 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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