Columbia County inching closer to imposing an occupancy tax on short-term rentals
Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors is debating next steps in its effort to create an occupancy tax. The members of the Columbia County Government Committee discussed at a meeting last week the idea of entering into a contract with a company that offers a platform for governments to manage short-term rental information, registration, tax collection, and enforcement. An occupancy tax would allow Columbia County to impose a surcharge on short-term rentals such as AirBnB, Vrbo, Tripping, and others. The company would help municipalities keep track of short-term rental properties in order to know who to tax, if and when an occupancy tax is adopted. In order to levy the tax, the board would be required to pass a local law, which would then be sent to the state, making for a potentially lengthy process. Columbia County Controller Ronald Caponera said the supervisors are split about 50-50 over whether the county should enter into a contract with Granicus Host Compliance now, or wait until the local law is passed. If Columbia County signs a contract with Granicus Host Compliance, it could be a considerable amount of time before a local law is passed and taxes are collected, New Lebanon Town Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling said. Members of the Government Committee decided they would hold a special county government meeting to discuss an occupancy tax resolution and to get feedback and suggestions from other supervisors and from members of the public. Board of Supervisors Chair Matt Murell suggested that meeting could happen sometime in July. According to data provided by Granicus, Columbia County currently has 962 short-term rental properties. The median nightly rental rate is $226. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.