COMMISSIONERS DROP ROOM TAX PROPOSAL
September 05, 2000 11:00 pm

GOLD BEACH A proposed county tax on motel rooms was put on hold indefinitely Monday when County Commissioners Lloyd Olds and Bill Roberts pulled discussion of it off the agenda.

By not taking action on the tax measure, Olds and Roberts allowed it to miss the deadline for the November ballot.

Commissioner Cheryl Thorp, liaison to the countys fact-finding committee on the tax, was not happy with her colleagues action. She said the revenue would have gone to services that help tourism in the county.

She listed search and rescue, marine deputies, restaurant inspections and public health as examples.

The tax was proposed, she said, In good faith, not to line our pockets, but to support services in Curry County.

Roberts said some in the tourist industry do support such a tax, but want more of the revenue to go for tourism promotion.

He said the item was pulled because people dont yet understand what it is about and fear their local taxes would be raised.

It wouldnt raise taxes for those living in Curry County, he said, and would help pay for some problems caused by tourists.

Thorp said she agreed that the county cant promote tourism without the infrastructure to support tourists.

Commissioner Lloyd Olds said he was against hurry.

Why is there never time to do it right the first time? he asked, But always time to do it over.

He said those on the fact-finding committee said the countys proposal discussed at the last commissioners meeting was not what they had talked about.

Thorp said there were several members of the committee for and against the tax. She said there was a consensus that any room tax should be 6 percent.

She said before the meeting that it was Olds and Roberts who raised it to the 10 percent tax proposed at the last meeting.

A few days later, Roberts said he was reconsidering both the 10 percent tax and placing it on the November ballot.

This issue is not dead, he said, November was a little too soon. We need to give more time for people to look at it. He said workshops would be held on the proposed tax.

Commissioner candidate Lucie La Bonte said she was disappointed the discussion was pulled from the agenda.

She said part of the process is to get public input and revise the document. Its too bad it was stopped.

La Bonte said it amounted to two commissioners making the decision outside a meeting.

Olds objected to that. He said when one commissioner wants something put on the agenda, or taken off, County Counsel Jerry Herbage passes along a note to the other commissioners. Olds said two must agree to put something on or pull it off.

La Bonte said she had seen several items that Thorp wanted on the agenda pulled off by the other two lately.