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Support “H” for Community Services
October 2008

On Nov. 4 Del Mar voters will decide whether to approve Measure H giving the city council authority to raise the City’s transient occupancy tax (TOT) from 10.5% up to 13 %. The TOT is the tax paid by hotel visitors that historically has been used by our city for community services. However, when placing measure H before the voters, the city council, at the same time also introduced a municipal code “amendment” formalizing their intent to consider forgoing more than $300,000 of potential TOT revenue annually if the hotels decide to form their own private marketing agency. That money, instead, could be collected by our local hotels to be administered by them; effectively limiting the City’s take to less than 13%.

We authored an argument against measure H because we believe that, while the city should increase the TOT to 13%, all of the money should go into our general fund. We were concerned about the intent of the council-proposed “amendment”, signaling to the hoteliers a willingness to potentially limit the TOT the city would collect, and we objected.

Based on our objection to the unwarranted concession to the hoteliers, potentially limiting the funds available for general city needs, the city council September 22 rescinded their code “amendment”.

By this letter we wish to acknowledge the council’s recent action rescinding the “amendment”, and state our willingness to now support measure H. We hope the community will similarly vote for measure H and, at the same time, appreciate the concerns we raised in our argument that they will read when opening the voter’s ballot guide.

While the council rescinded their objectionable code “amendment”, they reiterated on September 22 continued interest in limiting the amount of TOT the City could receive in order to provide marketing support for and by the hotels. They handed off to the next council the opportunity to pass a re-written “amendment” if measure H passes. We hope measure H passes and encourage the community to weigh-in on how the “amendment” related to the TOT is ultimately written and how the money of any TOT increase is spent. It is our wish, as residents and former Mayors and Council Members, that the council will utilize the entire, maximum TOT revenue for city purposes, and allocate it based on community input.

Mark Whitehead; Brooke Eisenberg-Pike; Deborah Isackson-Groban; Jan McMillan; Jacqueline Winterer.

 

   
 

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