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Colorado county to put lodging tax up for vote
LOVELAND, Colorado: The Loveland City Council has recently approved the placement of a proposed lodging tax in a 6-3 vote, the first of two votes the council will take. The second will come on August 18, where they will decide whether to put the measure on the ballot this November, rather than wait for election season next year. If approved, the bill would add a five percent lodging tax to hotel bills, with the money generated (approximated between $528,000 and $650,000) would go towards promoting tourism and other related activities, mainly by utilizing facilities that already support tourism to better market the city and sponsor local events. A seven-member marketing commission would be established to recommend specific uses for public funds.
Main skepticism concerning the tax proposal is not coming from criticism of its actual content, but rather from the rapidity with which the council wants to have residents vote on the measure. Brian Willms, chief executive officer and president of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, said at a recent council meeting, "There isn't enough time to get out information to voters. I'm a big supporter of a lodging tax, but this is one initiative I would not support." He added that in his view, a lodging tax would stimulate tourism, bring convention businesses to the town and create jobs. Even those in the hotel and wedding planning industry wanted assurance that they would have access to at least some information about how the money generated will be used and how others would benefit. Bruce Wallace, a local manager of Best Western Crossroads Inn and Conference Center, said outright at an information session, "I think Loveland needs to tell us where the money is going and to justify its use."