ByBoyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Transient Lodging Tax

Voters approved the county’s Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) Tuesday 3,279 to 2,473 – 57 percent to 43 percent – and by doing so agreed to fund tourism promotion, the Curry County Fairgrounds and Event Center and the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

The new tax is expected to 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.

Curry County Commissioner Chris Paasch said the TLT money is earmarked already. The sheriff’s department will receive 25 percent of the money “to continue growing that department with the challenges it faces.”

Part of the remaining money will be divided at 35 percent to tourism promotion and at 35 percent for the fairgrounds to “restore and update” its facilities, according to Paasch. The fairgrounds disbursement is not forever though. That money can be reallocated in later years as needed for tourism.

TLT money will also be used to administer the program at up to 5 percent, but those costs are unclear currently, and some of that money will be given to the facilities collecting the tax to offset their administrative costs as well, according to county documents.

“I am pleased the voters see the immediate necessities we have here and voted in favor. As I have said, I cannot put the burden of paying the bills of Curry County squarely on the property owners that have invested in homes and businesses. We have many visitors that come here and use the resources of the county and they need to pay their fair share,” Paasch said.

According to county documents, the TLT taxes guests who stay in local hotels and other lodgings. By state law, seventy 70 percent of the net county lodging tax collections are dedicated for tourism promotion and tourism-related facilities; 30 percent may be used to fund other county services.

Curry County Commissioners previously approved Curry County Ordinance No. 19-01 imposing the 7 percent 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 the tax could not be collected until voters approved it.

Commissioner Court Boice said he was “very happy the TLT passed,” and added it was a way to pull the county together with a focus on regional marketing.

Commissioner Sue Gold was not available for comment.

Consumption tax

Voters resoundingly rejected a consumption tax 4,791 to 939 –– 84 to 16 percent. The tax measure was offered on the ballot only as an advisory item, meaning no tax could have been implemented by the election, but commissioners will use the outcome to inform them on deciding similar measures.

According to county documents, the tax would have been imposed goods and services purchased in Curry County and real estate deals in excess of $100,000 at a rate of 1.5 to 2 percent. Approximately half of the receipts would come from visitors and out of county shoppers; the remaining half would come from county residents.

The consumption tax will be re-addressed by the Board of Commissioners (BOC), according to Paasch, who said he felt it was rushed and might have passed if it had been presented in greater detail and with a complete list of exemptions.

Boice said he had done extensive research about such a tax and thought it a positive way to increase the county’s finances without burdening home and property owners with an increase in property taxes.

MJ production tax

Curry County voters narrowly accepted a plan — again only as an advisory item — to tax marijuana growers and producers. The measure passed 3,600 to 2,176 and would provide information to the BOC while it formulates policy.

The ballot item stated, state law currently prevents counties from taxing marijuana production, however, in December 2017 the Association of Oregon Counties, which includes Curry County, asked state law be changed so five Southwest Oregon counties (Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson and Josephine) could tax marijuana production.

Following legislative approval, voters of each county could then decide whether to impose such a tax, and the state would collect an annual amount for the county in which each grow site is located. The revenue collected from marijuana producers would be dedicated to a law enforcement trust fund.

Money collected from a grower’s tax would be used locally to stop illegal growers and the influx of illegal weed into the black market, according to Boice, who said the illegal growers were armed criminals and were putting damaging pressure on the legal market.

Commissioners or school board members

Voters chose the following candidates to serve in the listed roles. The actual votes are shown and the winners are marked only in contested elections.

Port Orford-Langlois School Board

Pos. 2 – Phyllis Johns

Pos. 3 – Sandra Anderson

Port Orford Port District

Pos. 4 – Aaron Ashdown –– 496

David Rickel –– 145

Pos. 5 – Leila Thompson(Cassel) –– 552

Michael Hewitt –– 145

Langlois Library District

Pos. 1 – Paula Baudry

Pos. 2 – Sandra McDonald –– 177

David Terrusa –– 39

Pos. 3 – Susan Orbom –– 139

Christopher Johnson –– 59

Pos. 4 – Joanna Rieber

Pos. 5 – Carol Waxman –– 157

Marcia Heinzman –– 45

Port Orford Library District

Pos. 3 – Ken Fliszar

Pos. 4 – Vicki D Young –– 301

Penelope Suess –– 288

Pos. 5 – John Hewitt

Curry Health District

Pos. 1 – Karen Kennedy

Pos. 5 – Bryan Gruman

Central Curry School District

Pos. 2 – Nancy Sorensen

Pos. 4 – Luke Martinez

Pos. 4 – Kiley Clarno

Pos. 5 – Andrew Wright

Gold Beach Port District

Pos. 1 – Bill Fowler

Pos. 2 – Charles Riddle –– 493

Bob Dark –– 460

Pos. 5 – Hank Eckardt

Curry Public Library District

Pos. 1 – Alaina Pepin

Pos. 3 – Jerry Herbage

Pos. 4 – John Harper

Pos. 5 – Tim Scullen

Agness Community Library District

Pos. 1 – Clare Bowen

Pos. 5 – Willis Crouse

Brookings-Harbor School District

Pos. 1 – Jay Trost

Pos. 3 – Janell Howard

Pos. 5 – Janece Payne –– 1,509

Michael (Ted) Fitzgerald –– 906

Port of Brookings Harbor District

Pos.1 – Joseph Speir

Pos. 2 – Sharon Hartung –– 1,558

Wesley Ferraccioli –– 756

Pos. 3 – Roy Davis

Pos. 4 – Richard Heap

Pos.5 – Kenneth Range

Chetco Community Public Library District

Pos. 3 – Peggy Goergen

Pos. 4 – Michael (Ted) Fitzgerald

Pos. 5 – Judith Seyle

Harbor Rural Fire Protection District

Pos. 2 – Peggy Ghiringhelli –– 456

Peter Flanderka –– 241

Pos. 3 – Ken Hall

Pos. 5 – Patra Brazil –– 468

Rex Peterson –– 301

For a complete listing of Tuesday’s results go to http://www.co.curry.or.us and proceed to the clerk’s page.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com

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