Summit County Vacation Rental Alliance Hosts Community Forum to Evaluate Response Regarding Potential Lodging Tax
On Friday, December 17, the Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers hosted a virtual community forum for residents and owners of Breckenridge to see if they would support an initiative that would tax accommodation stays.
According to an email from the organization’s executive director, Julia Koster, the Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers is exploring the initiative and starting to craft a voting language for the April 2022 election.
Koster said the group’s goal was to “repeal and replace” Breckenridge’s new fees, which require short-term rental owners to pay $ 400 per room in 2022.
âEssentially, we would take that $ 400 per room fee away and replace it with a lodging tax,â Koster said of the goal. âNow the percentage part is one of the things we need to finish sorting out, but we’re thinking somewhere between 2% and 4%. â¦ These funds from this tax would be used specifically for the housing of the workforce.
If passed, the proposed tax is intended to ease the burden of new landlord fees and put it on visitors who pay rent.
At the virtual event, Doug Usher of Forbes Tate Partners moderated and asked attendees a series of questions about the regulations that Breckenridge City Council has implemented so far. Many of those interviewed were affiliated with short-term rentals – whether running a property management company or owning one themselves – while others lived nearby or lived within city limits.
During the event, Usher asked attendees what they thought of the town’s new fare, and Breckenridge resident Jack Rhind said he was not in favor.
âIt feels like the city has just woken up to the fact that the people who buy properties and rent them are making money, and now they want to take advantage of it,â Rhind said in the Zoom chat feature. . “They want to have a piece of the pie, and they sure are when they charge those kinds of fees.”
Becky Mela, who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and owns a short-term rental in Breckenridge, said she is unsure why the local short-term rental industry is being asked to bear the cost of the workforce housing.
âThe thing that bothers me the most about the way the city has handled it is that, again, it seems like theâ¦â said Mela.
One of the questions Usher posed to attendees was where they would like to see this allocated money. Koster said the issue was to assess if there were other community issues that the potential new tax could fund or if the community was only focusing on housing the workforce.
Of those who responded to the survey, 74% said they would like the funding to go to workforce housing. Other options were things like child care, improving infrastructure and roads, health care, recycling and waste management.
Mela asked why short term rental owners should be responsible for things like babysitting and asked if there was no end to what (short term rental) owners are supposed to help to finance.
Others, like Jim Bradley, a resident of Breckenridge, said they believed the money was better spent on workforce housing.
Even still, some believe that the impact of short-term rentals is greater than just housing.
Dan Cleary, who owns a property in Breckenridge as well as a few in Blue River, said he believes the fees and taxes should be allocated to other areas of the community as well.
â(Short-term rentals) have a universal impact on resources and infrastructure,â he wrote in the chat. âI find it hard to blame (short term rentals) for the accommodation alone. If taxed, this money should not be limited to housing. “
Other comments from participants noted that they wanted more accountability from the city for how funding was spent. And some worried that shifting the tax to visitors would cost Breckenridge a middle-class budget, turning him into the next Vail or Aspen.
Koster said the next steps are to meet with the board of directors of the Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers and continue to coordinate outreach events to gather public feedback.