Local government

Vale officials ponder adding lodging tax

VALE – Vale city officials are considering implementing a lodging tax to help boost tourism and the Vale Chamber of Commerce.

Todd Fuller, Vale city manager, said officials want to craft the new tax but don’t have a timetable yet regarding when it would be developed or implemented.

The lodging, or transient occupancy, tax is a tax imposed on those renting housing or lodgings in Vale for less than 30 days. That includes bed-and-breakfast operations, vacation rentals, homes, camping sites and campgrounds or recreational vehicle parks.

Fuller said the city plans to arrange for the state Department of Revenue to collect the tax.

The state would then keep 5% of the collected tax and send the remaining money to the city. By law the city is mandated to use 70% of such revenue to promote tourism. The other 30% can be used at the city’s discretion but would most likely go into the general fund, said Fuller.

State law does not limit the tax rate a city can impose and Fuller said that city leaders haven’t determined a rate yet or even the possible range of a tax rate.  . The city does not yet know how much money would be generated by a lodging tax.

The tax is paid by guests but collected by the operators.

“Big picture it’s what we can do to generate more revenue to help bring more people to Vale. If people come to Vale and stay they will spend more money at local businesses,” he said.

Sandra Bates, co-owner of the Bates Motel at 1101 A. St. W, in Vale, said she doesn’t support such a tax.

“We already have to pay to be open,” said Bates.

Bates said her motel pays a state transient occupancy tax of 1.5% and must conduct specific testes – such as on water – annually.

“That’s expensive,” said Bates.

Guy Guymon of Eagle, Idaho, who owns the Vale Valley RV Park, sees the tax as a “cash grab” by the city.

“We are already getting gouged by the city for septic, water, trash, etc.,” he said.

The 112-space RV park at the corner of Graham Boulevard and Ash Street opened in October 2023.

Guymon said he already “pays thousands of dollars per month (to the city).”

Any tax, he said, would be passed on to the RV park’s customers.

Fuller said the city attorney, Michael Horton, is reviewing a proposed ordinance for the transient tax.

Once Horton’s review is complete, the city will begin crafting an ordinance for the tax.

“It is quite a process to get this all done,” he said.

Mayor Tom Vialpando said the city is one of the few municipalities in Oregon that does not impose a transient occupancy tax.

“If our residents go to any place within Oregon and stay the night they are paying the (occupancy tax) there. Why are we not being able to bring the tax back here locally?” he said.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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