Nevada City residents are being asked to vote “No” on Measure Y, partly to increase the City’s TOT (transient occupancy tax) via Airbnb rentals.
But savvy residents ought to be asking what the money is going to be used for.
As it turns out, it looks like the City is being stingy when it comes to promoting tourism with the TOT tax — which comes from, well, tourism. (TOT tax, or transient occupancy tax, comes from renting accommodations such as hotels, motels, B&Bs and Airbnb).
As The Union reports: “According to Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, the city has given the Chamber 8 percent of its annual TOT taxes for the last 20 years. But the proposed 2016-2017 fiscal year budget replaces the percentage formula with a fixed rate of $22,000.”
“In a presentation in front of the council, Assistant City Manager Catrina Olson said the money the city saves by using the fixed rate will go into the city general fund.”
Huh? Only 8 percent of the TOT goes to the Chamber, which promotes tourism in the city?
As most of us know the “general fund” is a black hole of city government. There is no accountability whatsoever.
I totally agree with the Chamber in this case. More, not less, of the TOT money belongs to the Chamber, not the “general fund.”
The same goes for the County, where TOT money is going to the Nevada County Economic Resource Council for “economic development” but not necessarily tourism.
As for where the money goes, I also could not find a link anymore to the salaries at Nevada City Hall on the new city website, for example.
This is a serious issue for our community, because neighboring counties, such as Placer County, are spending more — not less — for tourism.
As a result, our community risks being left behind. For what? For “general fund” expenses. Wake up people.