Seasonal-rental owners would have the option to charge the fee, however.
“I think we should keep it simple,” he said.
Occupancy-Tax Committee member and Lake Clear lodging owner Ernest Holmeyer favored educating property owners about the overall benefits of participating instead of leaving them with the impression that it’s just another tax they are forced to pass on to customers.
He said bed the tax can be viewed as an investment in the county’s overall tourism-marketing effort, and that, in turn, can bring more customers to businesses. And for those properties that may have ineffective or little marketing, participating could broaden their reach to potential new customers.
Franklin County Department of Social Services Commissioner Lesley Lyon of Lake Clear, who owns a bed and breakfast, wondered if the added 5 percent might make some potential visitors think twice about choosing a rental property, since they are already paying between $1,000 and $3,000 a week to stay.
“With the 5 percent tax, you have to tell them ‘instead of $2,000, it’s $2,100.’ But I don’t know if $100 is going to make a difference,” she said.
Lyon also questioned the issue of fairness, saying if there are 100 rental properties and only 10 owners are paying it, “wouldn’t there be hard feelings if others don’t pay it?”
Chris LaBarge of the Holiday Inn Express in Malone said there would be “a mechanism to send a request for payment” within the law and that some of the money taken in under the local law “may be used to enforce it.”
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