By now you probably have seen or heard reporting about a proposed increase to Room Tax. As a permit holder, I feel that it is important to reach out to you personally regarding the proposal made by the Chairman of the Town of Baileys Harbor.
Below you will find the meeting minutes from the last three (3) meetings. You may find it helpful to review the detailed meeting minutes. They will provide background on what is being proposed and how the proposal originated. Mr. Eliot, who is the Town Chair of the Town of Baileys Harbor has brought forth this proposal (he is also the Vice Chair of the DCTZC). He is making his way around to the municipalities and presenting his proposal to the Town Boards/member municipalities.
The proposal is not being brought forth by the Door County Tourism Zone Commission. It would take 2/3 of the 19 member municipalities to approve an increase to the room tax rate and should that be achieved, all municipal ordinances would have to be updated.
In sum, this is very much a developing situation and it remains to be seen if enough of the member municipalities will support the proposal as lodging providers (constituents) weigh in on the impact of an increase with their Town Boards. This proposal entails more than just raising the room tax rate. There are complex and interrelated issues that need to be addressed. Destination Door County along with the local Community Marketing Organizations would also need to be on board with the proposal. To date, we just have the verbal proposal as outlined in the meeting minutes, but no official proposal in writing from Mr. Eliot. A letter of intent was approved recently by the Town of Baileys Harbor Town Board; we are not yet in receipt of the letter of intent.
The Tourism Zone Executive Committee approved an Ad Hoc Committee at the November meeting to gather information on the impact of an increase to the room tax rate (if the tourism/lodging industry has the elasticity to support an increased rate) as well as represent and include lodging providers in the process. They had their first meeting on December 2, 2020.
I would encourage you to reach out to your municipal Town Board to share your input on the proposal as well as encourage you to get involved in the process. Attend and participate in the meetings so that each municipal Town Board has the best information at hand to make an informed decision.
The Tourism Zone office will continue to provide detailed meeting minutes so all permit holders can stay up to date with how the proposal progresses. You can find our meeting minutes here. You may also consider attending our meetings via zoom. The Zoom meeting information is always at the top of the meeting agendas that are posted on the website.
Josh Van Lieshout, Chair- Door County Tourism Zone Commission
Administrator, City of Sturgeon Bay