Occupancy tax on the rise | SierraSun.com

Occupancy tax on the rise

Joanna HartmanSierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunVacationers await their check-in at Squaw Creek on Saturday.

A recent report shows a substantial increase in occupancy taxes over last year on the North Shore.During the first quarter of the fiscal year July 2006 to June 2007, the occupancy tax brought in nearly 16 percent more money in the North Shore area compared to last fiscal year during the same time. Total occupancy taxes collected for July to September amounted to $2,508,567.I think seeing an increase in [transient occupancy tax] collected means more people have come up and visited, said Andy Chapman, tourism director for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. More people up here means dollars going into the restaurants and shops.The 10 percent occupancy tax is charged to North Tahoe visitors when they stay in a hotel or rental home. The lodging operators then pay the 10 percent collected to Placer County.First quarter occupancy tax revenue is the best it has been in the last five years, Chapman said in a release. Tahoe City and Squaw Valley brought in the most money, with a combined total of more than $1.4 million.Approximately 7,000 rooms including vacation homes, condos and hotels are available throughout Tahoes North and West Shores, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Northstar.The summer was a great quarter, Placer Countys Tahoe manager Jennifer Merchant said, probably due to a combination of marketing and the growth in areas such as Squaw Valley and Northstar.Higher average lodging rates also contributed to the increase in tax collection, Chapman said.Increased TOT allows us to move on the back end of promoting North Lake Tahoe, transportation and infrastructure, Chapman said.Forty percent of the areas occupancy tax revenue goes into Placer Countys general fund, for anything from road improvements to health and human services, while the remaining 60 percent stays in North Tahoe for marketing, visitor information, transportation and infrastructure projects.Of the $2.5 million collected in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the North Shore will retain about $1.5 million.According to Chapman, this years occupancy tax revenue goal for the North Lake Tahoe area of Placer County is $6.8 million. The Town of Truckee also charges a 10 percent occupancy tax for the towns general fund to be used for anything from police protection to trail maintenance. The projected revenue for the 2006/2007 fiscal year is $1.1 million, according to town manager Tony Lashbrook.Two percent of that 10 percent tax, or roughly $200,000, helps generate visitor services and town promotion with the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce.

Communities across the North Shore in Placer County collected more from transient occupancy taxes during the first quarter of this fiscal year compared to the same time last year. The following represents revenue collected between July 1, 2006 and September 30, 2006.Northstar: $104,566Kings Beach: $168,639Carnelian Bay: $332,718Tahoe Vista: $228,242Tahoe City: $796,343West Shore: $150,570Alpine Meadows: $472Squaw Valley: $727,016