Rifle council, chamber considering a lodging tax
RIFLE – A citywide lodging tax to promote and market the city to tourists still could be on the ballot in November.If passed, the tax would be paid only by those staying in the city’s hotels and motels – most likely tourists – and not by residents.”The council and the chamber representatives felt this was something we needed to continue and press forward with at this time,” said Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert. “The community itself would not be paying for this tax increase, only the visitors using our lodging.”A lodging tax typically runs between 2 and 3 percent. The city is looking at a possible 2.5 percent tax.Voters in the town of New Castle overwhelmingly approved a 2.5 percent lodging tax in a municipal election in April. The city of Glenwood Springs also has a 2.5 percent accommodations tax.The Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce has contacted its lodging members and sent out a mass e-mailing to all its members asking whether a lodging tax would be supported. The city currently has four motels.”Out of 160 e-mails, we’ve had seven comments,” said Patty Lambert, chamber manager. “Three supported the tax, three said they would support it with more information, and one said ‘no.'”Lambert said two motel owners replied, saying they saw an advertising benefit but questioned a tax being applied solely to the lodging industry.”They would be affected directly by the (lodging) tax,” she acknowledged. “But the whole community would be affected by the advertising and marketing (benefit).”City attorney Lee Leavenworth previously reported that a lodging tax does not detrimentally affect a hotel’s business.If the tax is passed, the city would collect the tax, but the chamber would be responsible for distributing and using the money for promoting the city.”The chamber would be the lead agency,” Lambert said. “It’s really a benefit to the chamber and other members in town because the primary use would be for promotion of the community.”The issue will be presented to the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce board members at the next meeting today for a final decision.The issue will be presented to the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce board members at the next meeting today for a final decision.
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The Glenwood Springs Community Center will be closed through at least Saturday after an employee displayed symptoms of COVID-19, a city news release states.