County wants resort tax
May 10, 2013
During the Summit County Council meeting Wednesday, County Manager Bob Jasper said counties should be able to levy the Resort Community tax, an additional sales tax cities with a transient population greater than its census population can impose.
The purpose of the tax is to provide municipal services to out-of-town visitors. The tax can only be imposed if citizens vote in favor of it.
"We’ve been struggling to bring our budget into line with our revenues," Jasper said. "Many cities get this resort tax. Green River, which has two motels and a campground, gets the resort tax, but counties don’t get it."
Jasper said the county provides every service Park City, which imposes a resort tax, does, but to a much higher population.
"There are more people in the Basin than in Park City – far more," he said. "We have full-blown urban issues, but we don’t get that tax. And we have all the same impacts, and then some. During Sundance, it’s our jail that fills up. And our deputies are just as involved as theirs."
Councilmember Chris Robinson said he’s heard cities are concerned that if counties fight for resort tax eligibility, everyone will lose the tax.
"It kind of falls into the same category as Restaurant Tax, where there are those taxpayers that want none of these special services, but to instead lower the rate and broaden the base," he said. "’All these little bells and whistles that you’ve carved out for yourself are all bad, so let’s lump it together.’ That’s the sense I get when it comes up."
Jasper said that if the county is going to function as a city, providing municipal services, it needs a revenue structure to match.
"We don’t have that," he said.
The county is going to work with the Utah Association of Counties to see if the Legislature will broaden the resort tax law to include counties.