RANCHESTER — Ranchester Town Council approved a resolution implementing a 4 percent countywide lodging tax, making it the third of four incorporated towns in Sheridan County to accept it this week. Sheridan and Clearmont councils approved resolutions Monday.
The resolution does not immediately implement the tax but instead allows the issue to go before Sheridan County voters in the upcoming November election.
The Sheridan Travel and Tourism board of commissioners unanimously approved the implementation, which extends what the city of Sheridan currently collects for lodging establishments within city limits.
STT executive director Shawn Parker said tourism accounts for more than $1 million in spending per year, 1,000 local jobs and $6.2 million in travel-generated taxes.
Ranchester Mayor Peter Clark addressed concerns raised by Lazy R Campgrounds and Cabins in Ranchester regarding the proposed tax. Owners of the campground were concerned whether county entities would have access to the funds for distribution.
Clark said a joint powers board would be formed to help determine how the funds would be distributed throughout Sheridan County.
“We’re based out of the city, we collect only on city beds, but we’ve always worked as hard as we can to help out the other attractions (throughout Sheridan County),” Parker said. “We know people are coming for the mountains; they’re coming for ranches; they’re coming for everything in the community.”
Clark said the tax would allow surrounding towns and cities to tap into funds not currently held by the entirety of the county.
Ranchester Town Council unanimously approved the resolution, along with the 1 Percent Optional Sales and Use Tax and the town’s budget ordinance for fiscal year 2019. Dayton is the last municipality in Sheridan County to approve a resolution for the county-wide lodging tax to go to a citizen vote.