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Hotel tax should bring added revenue to city

The city of Enumclaw has latched onto a source of tax revenue that has sat, unclaimed, for years.

Popular among larger entities, a hotel/motel tax collects a few dollars every time a guest stays overnight at a hotel, motel, bed-and-breakfast or similar accommodation.

Across the state, the hotel/motel tax is capped at 4 percent and King County already collects at a 3 percent rate. During their June 22 meeting, members of the Enumclaw City Council voted to snare the remaining 1 percent.

That means every time $100 is collected within the city limits for lodging, $1 will eventually wind its way back to city coffers. The city will begin collecting the tax Jan. 1, 2010.

The possibility of Enumclaw grabbing one-fourth of the allowable hotel/motel tax was first on the agenda during the council’s June 8 meeting. But the idea of collecting the additional tax is hardly new.

“This has been a couple of years in the making,” city Finance Director Dianne Nelson told the council on the 8th.

She explained that the taxing authority is available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be used for “tourism-related activities.” Nelson said the county is using some of the tax money to pay outstanding bonds on the Kingdome, paying off a debt until 2025 for a structure that was demolished years ago.

Nelson said early estimates show that Enumclaw could collect up to $10,000 annually in hotel/motel tax revenue.

To comment on this story view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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