General fund eyed for lodging tax revenue

File photoThe Hudson Common Council plans to deposit lodging tax revenue into the city budget’s general fund and use some of the money to offset the Hudson Youth Department budget.

HUDSON — The Hudson Common Council is pursuing plans to add lodging tax revenue to the city’s general fund and provide additional funds to the Hudson Youth Department.

The Common Council introduced at its meeting Monday at City Hall, 520 Warren St., a proposed local law to amend the city’s lodging tax to put money back into the city’s coffers and once again pursue a moratorium on short-term rentals.

The city’s lodging tax, which was passed in 2017, requires operators of short-term rentals for less than 30 days — including those renting through the websites Airbnb and VRBO — to register with the city clerk, who would collect a 4% tax from visitors, part of which would be used to promote tourism in Hudson.

But since then, lawmakers on the Common Council have said it’s time to rethink what the money should be used for. This may have happened because no one anticipated the amount of revenue the tax would produce.

In the first year of the lodging tax, the industry brought in $7.5 million to $8 million in 2017, said former 4th Ward Alderman Rich Volo, who also served as head of the city Economic Development Committee of the Common Council.

“The City of Hudson finds that the dedicated revenue from the short-term lodging tax unnecessarily constrains the ability of the city to meet the other fiscal needs of the city to protect health, welfare and safety of city residents,” according to the proposed local law amending the city’s Lodging Tax.

About $300,000 previously collected in taxes would be retained by the Tourism Board, Common Council President Thomas DePietro said. But any decision on how to spend the money has to be approved by the Common Council. The Lodging Tax is anticipated to bring in a 21.4% revenue increase in 2020 over 2019.

“This revision will not get rid of the Tourism board,” DePietro said. “This will, for the future, eliminate that automatic dispersal of tax funds to the tourism board.”

The law would make the switch permanent, DePietro said.

The Tourism Board, which is made up of four members appointed by the mayor and four members appointed by the Common Council, would act as any other the city board and would have to go before the Common Council for funding of any projects, DePietro said.

Fourth Ward Alderman John Rosenthal said the money could be used to offset the Youth Department’s budget.

Meanwhile, Rosenthal and other members of the Common Council continue to pursue a moratorium on short-term rentals, with one revision: the moratorium would last six months instead of nine. The moratorium would not affect the rentals that already pay the lodging tax, but would affect any possible revenue from future rentals.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment

jonathansimons

How about using the extra money to lower property and school taxes?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.