The community scored a small victory Tuesday when Teton County commissioners stood firm and thwarted a plan to cede control over lodging tax revenues to the lodging and resort industry.
Commissioners Andy Schwartz, Hank Phibbs and Ben Ellis, as well as Town Councilors Greg Miles and Melissa Turley, deserve praise for maintaining maximum flexibility for the makeup of the board that will oversee the newly reinstated tax.
“Our responsibility is not to the lodging industry or the ski community but to the people who passed it,” Schwartz said, according to the News&Guide.
Mayor Mark Barron had pushed a proposal that he said “stacks the deck,” requiring four of the seven members of the tax board to come from the lodging and resort industry. He also called for designating a seat for someone from an arts or cultural entity.
Now, elected officials will have a freer hand in selecting board members.
The 2 percent tax on hotel rooms, passed by voters in November after a 16-year hiatus, is expected to generate about $3.5 million annually. The board will control how roughly $2.1 million is spent on travel and tourism promotion, with the rest going to local government and visitor services.