Supervisors: Delaware County bed tax is back, budget is up

Above: Colchester Supervisor Art Merrill, left, and Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente, both opponents of the proposed Delaware County bed tax, conferred during Wednesday's meeting of the board of Supervisors. Photo by Robert Cairns. 

A new version of a proposed Delaware County tax on hotel and motel occupancy was introduced at the Wednesday, Nov. 10 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.

An earlier version of the local law to authorize the two percent tax on overnight stays at lodging establishments was withdrawn last month after supervisors agreed with critics that it unfairly placed the tax on establishments that are already subject to sales tax while allowing casual rentals of rooms and homes to go tax-free.

The new version of the law makes such casual rentals subject to the bed tax by removing language that specified that only establishments that provide maid service or other amenities are taxable.

The change is designed to make the law applicable to rooms booked through services such as AirBnB or advertised on classified ad sites like Craigslist.

A public hearing on the tax will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. in the supervisors' room in the county office building at 111 Main Street in Delhi. A hearing on the earlier version was lightly attended, with only three people offering comment. 

The vote to set the public hearing on the bed tax was not unanimous. Colchester Supervisor Art Merrill and Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente voted “no.”

“We've got to kill it in the crib, somehow,” said Valente, who is an opponent of the bed tax.

Also at the meeting, supervisors briefly discussed the county's 2016 budget and approved salary increases for several department heads.

Budget Director and Walton Supervisor Bruce Dolph said that the budget, as it currently stands, contains $102,474,885 in spending. The property tax levy is $30,689,648–up by 3.386 percent from 2015's $29,689,540.

The increase exceeds the state's cap on property tax increases, which, Dolph said, is .73 percent.

“We're definitely over it,” he said, referring to the tax cap.

A public hearing on the budget was scheduled for Nov. 24 at 12:45 p.m. The budget will likely be approved at the board's meeting that day.

Previous coverage:

Delaware County supervisors delay bed tax vote, tweak law to cover AirBnB rentals, October 30, 2015

Businesses still not sold on Delaware County bed tax, Oct, 7, 2015

State legislators approve Delaware County's bed tax, June 25, 2015 

Delaware County's proposed bed tax rises again, April 23, 2015

Delaware County votes to move forward on bed tax, April 24, 2014