A rapidly growing tourism industry could generate new sources of revenue for the city of Kellogg.
Mayor Mac Pooler has proposed a resort tax on hotel rooms, ski rentals and other vacation properties leased for 30 days or less. Nine other Idaho cities, including Sun Valley, Sandpoint and Riggins, have passed local option resort taxes, according to the state Tax Commission. Sandpoint collects about $300,000 annually from the 5 percent tax on lodging.
Pooler views resort taxes as a way to tap into the increasing affluence of visitors to Kellogg. For years, the former mining town was known for a ski resort that attracted primarily day visitors. But recent resort development is encouraging more multi-day ski trips to Silver Mountain.
Developers have eight projects in the planning or construction phases, which could eventually bring 3,000 new ski condos or single-family dwellings to Kellogg. Many will be owned as vacation getaways and leased on weekends when their owners aren’t in town.
Most of those travelers are already accustomed to paying the equivalent of a resort tax, according to Pooler. “You travel anywhere, and there’s some type of extra tax on your hotel or motel bill,” he said.
The city of Kellogg could use the revenue for much-needed street repairs or sewer improvements, Pooler said.
Idaho allows cities of 10,000 people or less to levy the resort tax. Sandpoint voters adopted the city’s 5 percent resort tax in 2003. The city spends the money collected for capital improvements, such as street overlays and sidewalks, and for city services. A portion of the revenue is also dedicated to lowering Sandpoint’s property tax levy rates, a concept that Pooler applauds.
“We have lots of people who are retired and on fixed incomes,” he said.
Pooler hopes to put a resort tax before Kellogg’s voters in November.
The city has not yet inventoried the number of vacation rentals within Kellogg’s city limits or come up with a proposed tax rate.
That’s still in discussion stage, Pooler said.
City officials will meet with the owners of vacation rentals next month to get feedback.
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