By Dave Fidlin
In an effort to sync up with revised state law, Village of Waterford officials have adopted an ordinance that lays out a number of changes for collecting room taxes.
It represents a tiny sliver of its annual revenue, but a portion of Baymont Inn’s revenues is funneled to the village through the room tax line item guests pay.
To continue receiving that income, moving forward, the village will have to form a tourism-related commission, which is required under new state law. Village Attorney Marcy Hasenstab said the appointed group will have to “meet regularly,” meaning there is flexibility in how often it gathers.
Based on its current arrangement, the village collects 30 percent of all room tax proceeds. The remaining 70 percent is divided between countywide tourism organization Real Racine and the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Village Board, in its Dec. 12 discussion, said it would like to continue the funding arrangement. So, too, would Dave Blank, CEO of Real Racine.
“It’s been great working with the chamber,” Blank said at the most recent board meeting.
Hasenstab said the village will have to follow certain parameters in forming the local tourism commission. For example, one member needs to work in the hotel or motel industry.
A Baymont employee does not necessarily have to serve on the commission, Hasenstab said, but in their absence, a representative from a lodging establishment outside the village would have to pull up a seat at the table.
The board also backed a plan to increase its 6-percent room tax rate, which is below the market average. Moving forward, the municipality will charge 8 percent, which mirrors the amount charged in Burlington and other surrounding communities.
“People aren’t going to know the difference,” Blank said. “It’s not going to scare anyone away.”