Editor’s note: Curry County voters will be asked to vote on three ballot questions in the May 21 election. The questions follow along with an explanation of each issue taken from files at the Curry County Clerk’s office.
Shall Curry County be authorized to collect a transient lodging tax throughout Curry County except in the cities?
This is a tax on guests who stay in local hotels and other lodgings. By state law, seventy percent (70%) of the net county lodging tax collections are dedicated for tourism promotion and tourism related facilities; thirty percent (30%) may be used to fund other county services. This measure may raise an estimated $602,000 for tourism promotion and tourism-related facilities; and approximately $258,000 for other county services. The tax would be imposed only in the unincorporated areas of the county, and not in the cities. By state law, lodging operators may retain 5% of tax collections for their administrative costs. The Curry County Commissioners approved Curry County Ordinance No. 19-01 imposing a 7% tax on lodging guests at hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, condos, RV Parks, campgrounds, vacation rentals and other similar
transient lodging facilities for stays less than 30 days. But this tax cannot be effective unless the voters approve. This is not a tax on homeless people. This is not a tax to raise money to lodge homeless people.
In your opinion should Curry County tax goods and services purchased in the County? Exemptions would apply.
The outcome of the election on this advisory question will not be binding, It will provide information to the Board of County Commissioners while the Board formulates policy.
A 1.5% to 2% consumption tax on goods and services, and real estate in excess of $100,000, could generate between $2.5 million and $3.5 million. Approximately half of the receipts would come from visitors and out of county shoppers; the remaining half would come from county residents. Revenues would be designated to specific accounts so as to ensure tax dollars collected are not being directed to county personnel and their retirement accounts. This proposal would not affect the current property tax rate.
In your opinion, should Curry County be able to tax the production of recreational and medical marijuana?
The outcome of the election on this advisory question will not be binding. It will provide information to the Board of County Commissioners while the Board formulates policy. State law currently prevents Counties from taxing marijuana production. In December, 2017 the Association of Oregon Counties, which includes Curry County, formally recommended that state law be changed so that five Southwest Oregon counties (Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson and Josephine) could tax marijuana production. Subsequently Douglas withdrew from the proposal, and Lane joined the effort. Following legislative approval, voters of each county could then decide whether to impose such a tax. Property tax rates would not be impacted. The state currently collects annual fees from marijuana producers. Under the counties’ proposal, the state would also collect an annual amount for the county in which each grow site is located, and provide that additionally collected amount to the county. The revenue collected from marijuana producers would be dedicated to a law enforcement trust fund. This proposal would not affect the current property tax rate.