The Chaffee County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) is considering various approaches to the management of the county’s existing lodging tax. They are inviting public input during their upcoming regular meetings on August 9 and August 16 where this topic will be discussed. BoCC public meetings are held both in person and on Zoom.
The proposed measure under consideration will not raise the current lodging tax in Chaffee County.
The BoCC is evaluating a possible ballot measure that would ask voters to consider expanding how these existing lodging tax monies (taxes collected from visitors renting rooms in the county) are used. Until this past year, 100 percent of the lodging tax has been allocated to supporting tourism.
Chaffee County is one of 29 Colorado counties that currently have a voter-approved county lodging tax. Chaffee County voters originally approved a 1.9 percent local lodging tax in 1988, authorized by Colorado Revised Statutes § 30-11-107.5 as first codified in 1987.
This lodging excise tax is collected from all hotels, motels, guest ranches, campgrounds, and similar accommodations in all areas of the county, including Buena Vista, Poncha Springs, and Salida. Uses of lodging excise tax revenues are currently limited to “market and attract tourism to the County of Chaffee.”
Chaffee County’s lodging tax generated $1.29 million in 2021, which funds the activities of the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau.
New legislation was adopted by the Colorado General Assembly in spring 2022 that permits additional uses of local lodging taxes. The bipartisan House Bill 22-1117 was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis in March, 2022. The new legislation expanded the statutorily-authorized use of lodging taxes beyond advertising and marketing local tourism to potentially include “housing and childcare for the tourism-related workforce, including seasonal workers, and for other workers in the community; and for facilitating and enhancing visitor experiences.”
Although the state statute now permits these additional uses for lodging tax revenues, Chaffee County voters would first need to approve a local ballot measure adopting these uses before they would become effective here.
The BoCC meetings:
- August 9 at 104 Crestone, Salida or https://zoom.us/j/109079543
- August 16 at 715 E Main, Buena Vista or https://zoom.us/j/109079543
The agenda for the Aug. 9 meeting lists the public hearing at 10:00 a.m. The agenda for the Aug. 16 regular meeting has not yet been published, so a formal tie for the second pubic input session has not been established.
These are not formal public hearings of a ballot measure proposal, rather preliminary discussions to help inform the BoCC’s position as they work on drafting the proposed ballot language.
Public comment can be submitted in advance via email to email@example.com, through mail to 104 Crestone Ave, Salida, CO 81201, or can be shared at the BoCC meetings.
Once ballot language is finalized, the BoCC will hold a public hearing to discuss ratifying the ballot language; these meeting agendas with estimated times will be published to https://www.chaffeecounty.org/