Overnighters creating revenue for Truckee
As the number of hotel rooms increases in the Town of Truckee, revenue to fund town services and promote tourism grows.
The Transient Occupancy Tax is a 10 percent tax on lodging income from overnight guests, and pays a significant portion of the town’s tax revenue. With new hotels having come to Truckee during the last few years ” and the potential for more on the horizon with the town’s major developments ” this source of income will continue to grow.
In the 2004-05 fiscal year, the tax generated greater than $1 million of the more than $10 million worth of taxes collected by the town. With new hotels like the Hampton Inn and the Cedar House Sport Hotel, this year’s income will approach $1.2 million.
Town Planner Duane Hall said the main portion of the tax goes to the town’s general fund, which is used for different projects like trails, infrastructure and general plan implementation.
“It’s a last resort when we can’t get money from the state or a grant program. It fills in the holes,” Hall said.
About 2 percent of the occupancy tax also goes to the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, Town Manager Tony Lashbrook said, where it is used for “business promotion and visitor services.”
Lynn Saunders, president and CEO of the chamber of commerce, said the chamber is contracted by the town at about $270,000 per year to maintain the visitor center and promote the town nationally for tourism. Promotion includes magazine advertisements, brochures, media campaigns and an award-winning Web site, Saunders said.
“I think the most important thing is that with the [Transient Occupancy Tax], everybody is affected by visitors,” Saunders said. “It’s crucial for the vitality of our economy.”
The town has been pursuing more lodging since adoption of the 1996 General Plan, Lashbrook said, and will continue to pursue it in the General Plan Update, and in developments including Planned Community One at Coldstream, the Hilltop development and the Railyard.
Hall said the Hilltop and Railyard sites were considered for lodging because of their proximity to downtown; and within Planned Community One due to Coldstream Canyon’s proximity to Interstate 80.
Hall said the town isn’t interested in lodging just for the tax revenue generated, however.
“We want to promote tourism in Truckee as not just a day place. We want people to spend the night,” Hall said. “The [Transient Occupancy Tax] is just a by-product.”
The town has traditionally received the “day-impact” of tourism, but hasn’t had overnight benefits, including the occupancy tax, as much in the past, Hall said.