Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pacifica voters to decide on hotel tax hike

By Julia Scott
San Mateo County Times
Updated: 06/29/2010 11:14:12 PM PDT

PACIFICA — The City Council will ask voters to approve a transient occupancy tax increase in November that will put pressure on Pacifica's hotels — all six of them — to help the city dig itself out of a $3 million budget deficit.

Council members voted unanimously Monday night to create a ballot measure to increase Pacifica's hotel tax from 10 percent to 12 percent. Other cities across San Mateo County recently passed identical measures, including San Mateo, Millbrae, San Bruno and South San Francisco.

Officials portrayed the tax increase as crucial to balancing the city's deficit in the long term, even though it would only generate a modest additional take of $160,000 a year from the city's half-dozen hotels.
Pacifica faces a $15 million structural deficit over the next five years. The hotel tax would add an extra $640,000 to the city's general fund in that time.

Paul Chakkapark, owner of the Pacifica Beach Resort Hotel overlooking the ocean, said he was surprised and disheartened by the council's vote — and he plans to fight against the ballot initiative, which could hurt his business in a very tough economy.

"I think we have a hard time right now, and we need everybody's help. To increase it is not helping," he said. "We are only 15 minutes from San Francisco and customers in San Francisco come and stay with us, because San Francisco has a 14 percent tax and we have only a 10 percent tax."


Posted by Steve Sinai


Butch Larroche said...

Yet one more way to chase business away. Good job P-Town!!!!!

Steve Sinai said...

Maybe one day the city will do something FOR local businesses, instead of doing things TO local businesses.

But I won't be holding my breath.

Kathy Meeh said...

I started some research, and 12% is not unusual, but not much to offer tourist here. Councilmember Lancelle said "we have trails", to that fortunately councilmember Digre did not say "our ecology is our economy".

Santa Barbara has a 12% TOT, but 2% goes to ecology work. San Francisco has a 14% TOT; a long time ago I remember something like 6% went to their tourist bureau-- that may not be the case currently. Initially it doesn't seem easy to find-out the break-down of each city TOT and how it is spent or disbursed.

In Half Moon Bay TOT is now 12%, Berkeley 12%-- again, I don't know the breakdown distribution. In this city the money will go to the general fund and pay for ordinary bills. The Lighthouse hotel manager suggested that some of the money come back to the Chamber of Commerce (I think) for tourism. The "to build tourism" idea was ignored by city council. "We have trails."

Unknown said...

A table from (website sponsored by the California League of Cities, see section on "Other Locally Adopted Revenues, Business Tax, Hotel Tax, Other") offers TOT rates updated as of June 2010. The median tax rate as of last year was 10%, with a range from 3.5% to 15%. How tax distributed not provided. As other cities are facing the same issues that Pacifica is, this table could change dramatically over the next few years as rate increases are considered to balance city budgets throughout the state. All in all, 12% doesn't seem unreasonable based on the financial issues we face.

City County Rate
Brisbane San Mateo 12.0%
Burlingame San Mateo 12.0%
East Palo Alto San Mateo 12.0%
Half Moon Bay San Mateo 12.0%
Millbrae San Mateo 12.0%
San Bruno San Mateo 12.0%
Belmont San Mateo 10.0%
Daly City San Mateo 10.0%
Menlo Park San Mateo 10.0%
Pacifica San Mateo 10.0%
Redwood City San Mateo 10.0%
San Carlos San Mateo 10.0%
San Mateo San Mateo 10.0%
South San Francisco San Mateo 10.0%
Foster City San Mateo 8.0%
Oakland Alameda 14.0%
Berkeley Alameda 12.0%
Emeryville Alameda 12.0%
Alameda Alameda 10.0%
Albany Alameda 10.0%
Fremont Alameda 10.0%
Newark Alameda 10.0%
San Leandro Alameda 10.0%
Union City Alameda 10.0%
Hayward Alameda 8.5%
Dublin Alameda 8.0%
Livermore Alameda 8.0%
Pleasanton Alameda 8.0%
Sausalito Marin 12.0%
Corte Madera Marin 10.0%
Fairfax Marin 10.0%
Larkspur Marin 10.0%
Mill Valley Marin 10.0%
Novato Marin 10.0%
San Anselmo Marin 10.0%
San Rafael Marin 10.0%
Tiburon Marin 10.0%
Fort Bragg Mendocino 10.0%
Point Arena Mendocino 10.0%
Ukiah Mendocino 10.0%
Willits Mendocino 9.0%
Seaside Monterey 12.0%
Carmel Monterey 10.0%
Del Rey Oaks Monterey 10.0%
King City Monterey 10.0%
Marina Monterey 10.0%
Monterey Monterey 10.0%
Pacific Grove Monterey 10.0%
Salinas Monterey 10.0%
Gonzales Monterey 8.0%
Greenfield Monterey 8.0%
Soledad Monterey 6.0%
Calistoga Napa 12.0%
Napa Napa 12.0%
Saint Helena Napa 12.0%
Yountville Napa 12.0%
American Canyon Napa 10.0%
Citrus Heights Sacramento 12.0%
Elk Grove Sacramento 12.0%
Rancho Cordova Sacramento 12.0%
Sacramento Sacramento 12.0%
Galt Sacramento 10.0%
Isleton Sacramento 10.0%
Folsom Sacramento 8.0%
Palo Alto Santa Clara 12.0%
Campbell Santa Clara 10.0%
Cupertino Santa Clara 10.0%
Los Altos Santa Clara 10.0%
Los Gatos Santa Clara 10.0%
Milpitas Santa Clara 10.0%
Morgan Hill Santa Clara 10.0%
Mountain View Santa Clara 10.0%
San Jose Santa Clara 10.0%
Saratoga Santa Clara 10.0%
Santa Clara Santa Clara 9.5%
Sunnyvale Santa Clara 9.5%
Gilroy Santa Clara 9.0%
Capitola Santa Cruz 10.0%
Santa Cruz Santa Cruz 10.0%
Scotts Valley Santa Cruz 10.0%
Watsonville Santa Cruz 10.0%
Vallejo Solano 11.0%
Fairfield Solano 10.0%
Rio Vista Solano 10.0%
Benicia Solano 9.0%
Dixon Solano 9.0%
Vacaville Solano 8.0%
Healdsburg Sonoma 12.0%
Rohnert Park Sonoma 12.0%
Windsor Sonoma 12.0%
Cloverdale Sonoma 10.0%
Cotati Sonoma 10.0%
Petaluma Sonoma 10.0%
Sebastopol Sonoma 10.0%
Sonoma Sonoma 10.0%
Santa Rosa Sonoma 9.0%
No TOT: Atherton, Colma, Hillsborough, Portola Valley, Woodside, Piedmont, Belveders, Ross, Sand City,Suisan City, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno.

Kathy Meeh said...

Excellent Claire, and you're right some of these TOT fees will increase. I recall South San Francisco is proposing an increase to 12%. Next question is do these cities intend to just pocket the money, or will they use some of the TOT to actually promote tourism?

The Pacifica problem over the past 8 years is that this city continues to cannibalize its own financial and citizen resources. So, with the more "fees and taxes" solution, not much economic gain thrives and advances here.

Kathy Meeh said...

For the record, I oppose ANY taxes proposed by this city council, while at the same time they have allowed this city to continue to fail.

Where is the sustainable economic vision, promotion and support from this city council? It hasn't happened for 8 years of their leadership, and it will never happen. So, if you want anything other than a failed city, vote them out in the Fall. And, don't vote for any of their tax scams.

This TOT tax is another economic cannibalization without promoting tourism. At their 6/28 meeting, city council conversation about this tax included "we need the money", Councilmember Lancelle offered an alternative "we provide trails." Any consideration of shared revenue to promote tourism was ignored. From a business view, this usual city council response is not good enough, and from my view is unacceptable. No on the TOT tax!

This clarification is made because someone who read my prior comments wondered if was ambivalent about increasing the TOT tax.