Lodging Tax

The Washington City Council Monday night approved continuing the 5 percent lodging tax for the coming year.

There was no discussion on the tax which must be approved by the council each year. It has been set at the 5 percent maximum since 2007.

The tax is applied to motels, hotels and bed and breakfast establishments and the revenue is used to promote tourism in Washington.

The tax, approved by voters in 1999, authorizes a maximum tax of 5 percent on motel bills. However, until 2007, the council levied the tax at 3 percent each year.

The tax goes into a tourism fund that is overseen by an appointed tourism commission, which contracts with the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce to undertake tourism activities. The Chamber also contributes to the tourism fund.

Of the revenue collected each year, 95 percent goes for promoting tourism and 5 percent goes to defray expenses of the tourism commission.

The tax money is used to leverage additional funds in the form of state tourism grants and co-op advertising with businesses and other entities.

In the past, funds have been used to fund larger items such as billboards and other advertisements, Mayor Sandy Lucy said.

The council voted unanimously to set the bed tax at the 5 percent rate.