Amador County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday (June 12) to direct staff to prepare a hotel-motel tax increase measure that would exclude any taxes on campgrounds in unincorporated Amador County, located east of Sacramento, Calif.
The so-called Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) would change hotel and motel taxes from 6 percent to 10 percent. County Counsel Greg Gillott reported on a list of 13 campgrounds that could have a TOT, and 15 that were either state or federally owned and would not fall under county jurisdiction, TSPN-TV, Jackson, reported.
The board directed Gillott to prepare draft measure language for the board to consider June 26, and still be able to place it on the November ballot.
Supervisor Brian Oneto dissented and supported applying it to camping and RV parks. Jim Gullett of Amador Business Council said an unnamed business council member, the largest payer of TOT in Plymouth, would be at a disadvantage as Plymouth is trying to raise its TOT to 10 percent, and it would affect his park. But Gullett said the owner would not oppose the ballot measure and would remain neutral on the issue.
Supervisor John Plasse said TOT on private campgrounds puts them at a distinct disadvantage from a pricing standpoint alone, and federal campgrounds do not face the same regulations. He supported “bringing the county TOT in line with the cities, but I don’t think it’s the right time.” He didn’t want to waste money to make the effort right now.
Supervisor Ted Novelli said Tuolumne County’s measure to shift TOT to camping failed, and 12 of 15 fire protection tax measures failed in recent primary elections. Gullett said the Tuolumne defeat was substantial, but Amador Business Council strongly supports taking the TOT to 10 percent, and would support exempting camping and RV parks. Oneto said “even with a broad-based effort in this election environment, it could still fail.”
Gullett spoke to Mother Lode Tea Party, whose members supported separation of business from government. Al Bozzo of the Amador Business Council said they are in no way, shape or form trying to underwrite private entities. They are trying to promote Amador as a brand to try to compete with other areas spending millions to do what the Business Council is trying to do. That is to encourage people to visit and spend money, to move here and pay property taxes, and to move their businesses here.
Gullett said the public-private partnership builds jobs.