The Lincoln County (N.M.) Fairground in Capitan needs long-overdue improvements and county commissioners are looking at the lodgers tax as a means of financing those projects, according to the Ruidoso News.

But dedicating proceeds from lodgers tax to the fairground might mean that no other allocations could be awarded for advertising and promotion to the several dozen entities that annually request those dollars.

Commissioner Lynn Willard said those tax dollars might increase as Lincoln County continues identifying and collecting taxes from unregistered rental properties.

Commissioner Tom Stewart said before taking action he would want feedback from the entities that annually request lodgers tax for event promotion.

County Manager Nita Taylor was directed to research the feasibility of the proposal and to pick up on establishing a tracking and collection system from short-term rentals in the county, begun just before the county’s planning director left to join the village of Ruidoso as community development director.

The village has successfully pursued registration of short-term rentals focusing on privately-owned homes as well as managed properties, hotels, cabins, lodges, motels and RV parks.

Since instituting Host Compliance software, the village has increased the number of short-term rentals registered and paying lodgers taxes, said Community Development Director Samantha Mendez.

“Every month we keep setting record highs in collections,” she said Monday. “It would be a great partnership if the county and village can work together, and it would create a level playing field for all lodgers, instead of just those inside the village paying or those outside who decide to pay.”

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