Visitors may pay more to stay in Silt if lodging tax passes
Zofia Bryjak, owner of the Red River Motel in Silt, says an occupational tax would drive her customers away and affect other businesses in town as well. By Heidi RiceRifle CorrespondentZofia Bryjak, owner of the Red River Motel in Silt, says an occupational tax would drive her customers away and affect other businesses in town as well.Town trustee Dave Moore believes the tax money will help fund projects to improve the town’s image and stresses that the tax will be paid for by short-term visitors – not the residents.Silt voters will decide whether to pass the tax at the general election on Nov. 2.Town board members agreed just hours before the Sept. 8 deadline for putting the ballot question before voters whether to levy a $2.50 tax per night on any lodging facilities in the town. Because Silt is a statutory municipality, the tax would fall under an occupational tax and levied as a flat fee instead of sales tax increase.The Red River Motel, at 1200 Main St. on the east side of town, is the only lodging facility in Silt. And Bryjak said she thinks an additional $2.50 per night is too much.”I don’t like it,” Bryjak said. “I’ve explained to everybody that I’ll lose customers. It’s too high – $2.50 is too high. Some of my customers are searching for $1. It’s a very bad decision for me. Somebody made a bad decision.”Moore, who proposed the tax, has said he thinks the opposite will happen – that by sprucing up the town, it will attract more visitors and tourists to Silt.”This wouldn’t cost the town or the citizens of Silt one red dime,” Moore said. “And the money could be used to change the image of Silt with signs, planters, sidewalks and trees.”As an occupational lodging tax, the money would be placed in the town’s general fund. According to proponents of the tax, the funds collected could also be used for other improvements such as feasibility studies and designs to better improve the town, architecturally and economically.Statements opposing the tax state that even a $1 increase might cause potential customers looking for a low-priced room to go elsewhere, causing the motel and local businesses to lose money through less sales tax revenues due to the loss of business.The city of Glenwood Springs has levied a lodging tax for years and voters in the town of New Castle passed one last year. A lodging tax question will also be on the ballot for the city of Rifle in the upcoming election.The city of Glenwood Springs has levied a lodging tax for years and voters in the town of New Castle passed one last year. A lodging tax question will also be on the ballot for the city of Rifle in the upcoming election.
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