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Farmington to decide fate of tourism tax

FARMINGTON — Voters will go to the polls today to decide the fate of a proposed transient tax. The 5 percent tax would be placed on all overnight hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast rentals, with the proceeds used to promote tourism for the Farmington area.

It’s estimated the transient tax, or “hotel” tax, could generate up to $250,000 or more per year based on current occupancy rates as reported by owners of “nightly rental” rooms.

The ballot issue was approved by the city council in late spring and placed on the ballot for today’s vote. Whether to have the tax must be decided by all participating registered voters of the city.

As written, the ballot issue calls for the sales tax to include a “sunset,” or end, seven years after approval unless the voters would later decide prior to the sunset date to extend the tax for an additional time. It’s believed that by offering a sunset clause the tax could be tried, and if found ineffective it would expire without further action required by voters.

City officials held a meeting with owners and operators of hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts in early summer. Support for the tax measure was mixed. Some owners and operators saw the benefits of a small tax which could potentially draw in many more visitors. At least one owner sent word that he was opposed to the tax, adding that he was already spending thousands on tourism each year.

Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum wrote a letter to the editor which was printed in the July 30 issue of the Farmington Press in which he outlined his reasoning for the tax measure. Copies of the letter are available at Daily Journal office locations, or by clicking here.

Doug Smith is a reporter for the Daily Journal. You can reach him at 573-756-8927, or at

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