Lodging tax expected to rebound for sports complex
The new sports park is going to be great for young and older children in Medford. I supported the increase in the lodging tax from 9% to 11%. But isn’t hotel occupancy down right now? Will there be enough money to pay for this $60 million project if the city can’t collect enough from these taxes?
— Paul F., Medford
You’re right, Paul, the money collected from transient lodging taxes is an important part of the equation to finance the 30-year bond for the newly christened Rogue Credit Union Community Complex at Wes Howard Memorial Sports Park.
The money will raise about $13 million of the total, with the rest of the money coming from other fees.
You’re also right, Paul, that currently the amount collected from transient lodging taxes is down because fewer people are traveling these days, particularly business travelers.
But once a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, travel is expected to go back up again.
The lodging tax has been expanded to include Airbnb and vacation rentals, so ultimately the city should receive additional annual revenues that it didn’t previously collect.
Also, new hotels continue to be built in Medford. You can see a new one going up next to the south Medford interchange.
Remember, Paul, this is a long-range project, and the actual construction won’t begin until 2022. If a vaccine is available sometime next year, travel should start to increase by the time the city starts construction.
Hopefully, this is the last pandemic we’ll experience for a long time.
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