Steamboat Council to discuss whether to levy STR tax at full 9% rate on Tuesday

After voters gave Steamboat Springs City Council the authority to place an additional tax of up to 9% on short-term rentals last week, council will discuss what percentage they intend to actually impose on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

With a couple dozen cure ballots left to count, the tax looks to pass by a 62% to 38% margin, according to results from the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

But the city charter requires council to pass an ordinance to put the tax measure into effect that outlines when it starts, what properties it applies to and what the tax rate is, among some other details. Council will consider the first reading of such an ordinance on Tuesday.

In previous council discussions about this ordinance, members signaled to staff they favored the tax starting on Jan. 1 and including so-called quasi-hotels like the Steamboat Grand in properties it would apply to.

Ballot language included a phrase allowing council to “adjust the rate of tax from time to time,” so even if council opts to impose the full 9% to start, as city staff has recommended, it does not have to stay that way.

If imposed at the full rate, the tax is projected to earn more than $14 million in 2023, though that does not include any exemptions council may make that would lessen what is collected. Council has previously showed support for exempting reservations made for this ski season that are fully paid for prior to Jan. 1.

For example, if an STR is booked for March, and paid for in full prior to Jan. 1, it wouldn’t be subject to the tax. If guests opted to extend that stay after the first of the year, those additional days would be subject to the tax.

Council will need to pass the measure twice before the tax can go into effect. If council passes the first reading on Tuesday, a second reading is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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