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Front Page » March 13, 2007 » Local News » Commission Holds Hearing on Trt Tax Increase
Published 2,758 days ago

Commission Holds Hearing on Trt Tax Increase


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By COREY BLUEMEL
Staff writer


The transient room tax is a tax on motel/hotel rooms that is collected from those who visit Emery County. This tax is currently at 3 percent and that money is earmarked to be spent on increasing tourism. The Emery County commissioners held a public hearing recently to take public comments about raising that tax to 4.25 percent.

The Utah legislature has approved to allow counties to raise the tax 1.25 percent and will allow them to use the money for things other than advertising and tourism. Commissioner Drew Sitterud explained that the Emery Country Travel Council board will make the decision as to where this additional money should be spent. That board makes the decisions how the TRT tax is allotted now. If this raise is approved, it could mean an additional $30,000 to be used in the county annually.

Mike McCandless, Emery County economic development director, stated that the added flexibility the board will have in determining where this added revenue can be used will help the county. A county resident questioned whether the state can take this money away at a later date. McCandless answered that anything is possible, but he feels the legislature will be hesitant to take it because this funding promotes tourism and these funds are vital to the county.

Jo Sansevero, Ferron City Councilperson, spoke in favor of the increase. "This tax will not be paid by the people of Emery County, but by visitors to our county. These funds may help to improve tourism to this area," she stated.

Castle Dale Mayor Neal Peacock stated, "We either need to get on board or we'll fall off the truck. This tax is not in the least out of line. People from outside of the area will help us. This rate is considerably less that other areas. I see no negative impact for Emery County with this tax."

Gil Bowden, Mayor of Ferron, said, "I am in favor of this increase. It will benefit Emery County. We need more recreation and development in the county. This increase will put the burden on visitors not local residents. This rate is well below the rates in other areas. As a motel owner, I am not opposed because it will help the area."

Sheriff LaMar Guymon stated that the transient room tax is a tax on motel/hotel rooms that is collected from those who visit Emery County. This tax is currently at 3 percent and that money is earmarked to be spent on increasing tourism. The Emery County commissioners held a public hearing recently to take public comments about raising that tax to 4.25 percent.

The Utah legislature has approved to allow counties to raise the tax 1.25 percent and will allow them to use the money for things other than advertising and tourism. Commissioner Drew Sitterud explained that the Emery Country Travel Council board will make the decision as to where this additional money should be spent. That board makes the decisions how the TRT tax is allotted now. If this raise is approved, it could mean an additional $30,000 to be used in the county annually.

Mike McCandless, Emery County economic development director, t 90 percent of this tax is generated in Green River and they want to keep the money there. No one is here from Green River and someone needs to speak in their behalf.

Following the closure of the public hearing, the commissioners approved to increase the TRT tax. Commissioner Sitterud added, "There is a board which is the travel council to disperse the TRT tax revenue. They will determine where this money goes. Members of the travel council are Mike McCandless, LaMar Guymon, Susan Sitterud, Olive Anderson, Mark H Williams, Cathy Gardner, and Kerry Bigelow. This resolution will become effective on July 1."



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