Dillon voters likely to see short-term rental ballot measures | AspenTimes.com

Dillon voters likely to see short-term rental ballot measures

Voters in the town of Dillon will likely decide in November whether to impose a 6% lodging tax and 5% excise tax on short-term rentals. Neither number is finalized, but the council voiced support for putting the question on the November ballot at its work session Tuesday.

The councilors present voiced unanimous support for the taxes after seeing the results of Silverthorne and Frisco’s votes. Silverthorne increased its lodging tax from 2% to 6% with 74.6% of voters in favor, and Frisco imposed a 5% excise tax with 64% of voters in favor. Frisco also has a 2% lodging tax in addition to the excise tax.

Including the 8.875% sales tax, short-term rentals in Dillon would be subject to 19.875% in taxes. Hotels would be exempt of the 5% excise tax. Town Manager Nathan Johnson said the largest excise tax in Colorado was 15% in Ouray.

The money generated from the taxes would go toward the town. Councilors listed a number of avenues for the money, from workforce housing to roads and transportation, and from town core projects to general infrastructure. Enterprise funds like the marina would be ineligible, town finance director Carri Mcdonnell explained.

“But it could be put into other improvements which might free up money for the marina,” she said.

Johnson said that in conversation with renters, he learned they want to see a correlation between the tax and improvements in the town.

Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said, “I like the language Silverthorne used,” referencing the wording of Silverthorne’s ballot question. Their question stated the money would go to addressing visitor impacts on recreation, public safety, transportation and housing.

“I’m a strong supporter of myself, because I think the short-term rentals situation has created some problems like workforce housing,” Councilor Dana Christensen said. “So if we can have those same people help solve problems by generating revenue we could use for workforce housing.”

“I agree with Dana,” Councilor Renee Imamura added. “And not just for workforce housing, but for other town improvements.”

Councilor Tony Scalise offered the council’s lone concern, saying, “I just want to make sure, with companies that are existing because of short-term rentals, we don’t take a big chunk out of them.”

“And they don’t want a cap,” Councilor Renee Imamura added. Dillon does not have a moratorium on the number of short-term rentals allowed.

Currently, short-term rentals are subject to a 2% lodging tax, in addition to an 8.875% sales tax. The sales tax would remain in effect if voters approved the new lodging and excise tax rates.

Renters must also register with the town and pay a $250 fee. The fee covers a complaint hotline and staff time. In line with Silverthorne, Dillon also caps the number of occupants at two per bedroom, plus two.

The council has until August to settle on its exact language for the ballot. The council indicated it would place two questions for approval on the ballot, one for the excise tax and one for the new lodging tax.

While approved, Silverthorne’s lodging tax change does not take effect until July 1. Frisco expects to generate $1.5 million in revenue from its excise tax from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023. Frisco intends for its revenue to go towards housing projects.


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