Carson City hotel owners not in favor of room tax increase
CARSON CITY – The Carson City Convention & Visitors’ Bureau board said this week it wanted to hear from hotel owners before it decides whether to ask for a room tax increase from 10 percent to 13 percent.
Board members agreed to send information to hotel owners about the tax that could be used to support sports tournaments, the V&T Railway, marketing campaigns and bike and hiking trails. The board meets next on July 13.
Board member Terrie McNutt said she wants to see more public opinion because the tax increase would have a “big impact on many people.”
Hotel owners need to understand how the board plans to spend taxes, she said.
“If the tax is raised, where is that money going?” she said. “None of them have a clear answer.”
Candy Duncan, Visitors’ Bureau executive director, said the board should think about how the slow economy has hurt the bureau’s funding.
Grants from the Nevada Commission on Tourism to Carson City will probably drop because of state budget cuts, she said.
The bureau’s main source of funding, the city room tax, brought in 10 percent less than expected this fiscal year, according to the bureau. That’s down about 40 percent from two years ago.
Duncan also said she none of the money from the room tax would support salary increases or new staff.
The board is wasting its time considering the tax increase, said David Friedrich, owner of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Carson City.
No hotel owners in the city will support the tax increase for whatever reason the board wants it, Friedrich said. If the board needs more money, it should cut funding for things that don’t bring in overnight visitors such as $1,500 for July 4 fireworks, he said.
“You’re under the misconception that we can slip this under the guest and they won’t know what they’re paying,” he said.
Dwight Millard, board chairman, said he opposes the room tax increase because no one has presented a detailed spending plan.
The board might also need to save its room tax increase for support of the V&T Railway, he said.
“It could be that gorilla that eats 5 or 6 more percent,” he said.