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County wants to use hotel room tax to pay for jail

For former Oregon Youth Authority building in Warrenton would be used as the county jail. (Cindy Yingst)
Friday, August 10, 2018

The Clatsop County Commission approved an ordinance July 25 that increases the county’s transient room tax.

Proceeds would be used to fund operating costs of a proposed new county jail.

Tourists and others staying at local hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds and other lodgings pay transient room taxes.

The increase raises the tax rate in the unincorporated county from 9.5 to 10.5 percent and imposes a 1 percent room tax within the cities of Astoria, Cannon Beach, Gearhart, Seaside and Warrenton.

Under state law, 70 percent of the room tax proceeds must fund tourism promotion. A portion of the resulting tax revenue collected from lodging establishments in the five cities will be distributed to the cities.

The remaining 30 percent of revenue from the increase, estimated to total $420,000 a year, will fund operations of the proposed new jail.

The county has placed a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot seeking voter approval of a $20-million bond for development of a new 148-bed county jail in Warrenton.  

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