Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hotel operators, comptroller discuss how to boost room tax revenues

KINGSTON – In 2007, Ulster County collected more than $1 million from its hotel/motel tax. But in 2009 that figure dropped to $937,000.

On Wednesday, Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach wanted to know how to increase business and those revenues when he met with county innkeepers, resort managers and owners, and Chamber of Commerce and tourism officials.

“We’re seeing a considerable drop, especially when you see the 2007 numbers to the 2009 numbers. We’re close to a 10 percent drop in the bed numbers,” he said.

During the 30-minute meeting, questions were raised about whether all lodging facilities, ranging from singular B & Bs, to mid-level motel and national chains and resorts, were accurately reporting their occupancy rates and the taxes to coincide with those numbers.

“The folks here have been strong participants in the occupancy tax. Our concern here is: First and foremost is everybody participating paying the tax,” said Auerbach.

Large scale resorts are planned for Williams Lake in Rosendale and Belleayre Mountain on the Delaware County line. Auerbach said the county and the county’s lodge owners need to help bring in more operators to help with these needed revenues.

“What can we do to help the resort industry to bolster their ranks?” said Auerbach.

Jerry Luke, of Fox Hill Bed and Breakfast in Highland, attended the meeting. He said all lodge owners need to support their industry in the county.

“We want to help the county as much as we can because we’re all in it together,” he said.

And Luke feels all businesses are affected by tourism in Ulster County, a major driver in the county’s economy.

“It also affects every small business in the county,” he said, of the hotel/motel tax. “If we’re going to be collecting taxes, we want to ensure everybody benefits from it.”

Copyright © 2009 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc

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