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  • Writer's pictureMayor Dan Kees

Advertising and Promotion of Holiday Island

At last week's city council meeting, April 16, 2024, two ordinances were passed relative to Advertising and Promotion of Holiday Island. The ordinances were included in the meeting documents posted on the city website if you wish to read them. The 1st Ordinance 2024-004 authorized placing the issue of a 3% Lodging Tax on the November ballot in order for the electors of Holiday Island to decide if this is something they want the City to do. The 2nd Ordinance 2024-005 establishes an Advertising and Promotion Commission which would be responsible for collecting the tax and determining how the funds will be used. As stated in the ordinances, the tax would be on the gross proceeds for short-term lodging in Holiday Island which could include hotels, motels, and other forms of rental for stays of less than 30 days. In Holiday Island, that would primarily be short-term rentals such as B&B’s and VRBO’s. The tax would be a “user paid” tax paid by the customers and not by the residents of Holiday Island, unless a Holiday Island resident chose to patronize the lodging establishment as a customer.

A couple of months ago the City set up an Ad Hoc committee to study the issue. The committee was made up of business owners in the short-term rental business, the restaurant business, the Chamber of Commerce, and members of the community. The ordinances are a direct result of their efforts and recommendations. The committee, as well as the city council, feel that vacation rentals are possibly the primary industry in Holiday Island and have great future potential. Virtually all cities that have a significant tourist economy have some form of lodging tax to fund advertising and promotion of their tourist offerings. Holiday Island is attempting to do the same. The tourists spend a lot of money locally, which helps our local economy and helps to cover the costs of operating some of Holiday Island’s recreational amenities. Over the next few months, there will be more information shared as to how much revenue is anticipated from the tax and how those funds will be used.

I’d like to express two last points. I want to be clear that the City is not going to impose this tax. The Holiday Island residents who will be voting in the November election will decide whether this tax should be implemented. The City shall carry out the will of the people. And this tax adds no additional tax burden on the residents of Holiday Island. Secondly, by law and by the ordinances, the funds generated must be used exclusively for advertising and promotion and cannot be used to pay for things that would normally be covered by the City or HISID general revenue budgets. If you have any questions on these ordinances, please feel free to call me.

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