Vote YES in the Special Election!!!
BY: RACHEL SMITH (photo credit: alabamacounties.org)
I’m not gonna lie… I am not always up to date on the political happenings of my area. There tends to be issues that just aren’t as publicized as others, and when you’re not sure what you’re voting for or against the consensus is usually to simply not participate. And then after the fact, I find out it would have been amazing for our area, and I kick myself for not being more involved.
Have you ever felt that way? Well, this blog post is meant to get you IN THE KNOW about the special election vote on April 10th. So here it goes. You’ll be like a special election phenomenon after you read this.
First up – this will only be on your ballot if you live OUTSIDE the city limits of Clear Lake and Mason City. Meaning… us city-folk have already voted YES for this tax. That is why if your long-lost cousin Billy from Albuquerque comes to visit and books a room at the Best Western, or any vacation rental inside the city limits… Billy would be paying a 7% hotel/motel tax on the room for the duration of his stay. However… if he chooses to stay at a hotel, bed & breakfast, or a vacation rental that is not within the city limits, as of right now he would not have to pay any hotel/motel tax.
Right now, there aren’t many traditional hotels outside the limits, but the vacation rental market is growing both within city limits and out. Thus – we need all you folks living in rural areas outside the city limits to vote YES so that our county can collect this tax!
Which brings me to my next point. Because we’ve all received our property tax bills recently with a bit of a spike in property values… and it may have been a bit of a shock. This is NOT that. In fact, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with property or income tax. It is NOT a tax for local residents, but instead for our vacationers and tourists who visit this awesome town to enjoy our lake and attend all our awesome events.
Those people will pay this tax. Not you!
Okay… next up… what exactly IS this tax? Well, I explained this already a bit above with your cousin, Billy. We have seen a recent spike in VRBO (vacation rental by owner) properties. Locally, there are 25 VRBO rentals within unincorporated areas of Cerro Gordo County. These properties do not currently collect hotel/motel tax. Think of the revenue this can generate for our area.
All the visitors = all the money!! ß This is a good thing.
Once we’ve collected all this extra money from folks, how will it be used? The additional revenue will be invested in activities and developments that promote & encourage tourism, such as:
Recreation, Cultural & Entertainment Facilities
These are all things that can use all the help they can get! The more we market our area as a premiere Midwest destination and have state-of-the-art amenities and facilities, the more people will travel to our area! This creates an ongoing cycle of substantial economic growth, putting dollars in the pockets of our local business men and women, and creating an atmosphere for prosperity and success in North Iowa.
When you travel… you pay this tax. You probably don’t even realize it! It’s a win-win situation for our area to instill the hotel/motel tax in our unincorporated areas and charge those that travel to our neck of the woods!
Please… I ask that you get out next Tuesday, April 10th and VOTE YES for the special election hotel/motel tax if it’s on your ballot!
For more information, I encourage you to visit https://tax.iowa.gov/hotelmotel-tax-0