Council May Call a Vote on Controversial Room Tax Increase | Bent | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Council May Call a Vote on Controversial Room Tax Increase

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A long-standing feud between two factions of the tourism community is boiling over again this week. This time, the conflict is about whether to raise hotel room taxes.

The Bend City Council discussed whether to take the proposal to raise room taxes to the voters at its meeting on Wednesday night, but deferred a decision on that question to its next meeting on Feb. 6.

Right now, tourists pay 9 percent on top of the cost of renting a room for a night in taxes. That money goes to the city, which then sends 30 percent of it on to a group called Visit Bend.

Visit Bend is basically a marketing group with the sole mission of promoting Bend tourism that currently has a $1.2 million budget.

If the room tax, which is formally called a transient room tax, is increased Visit Bend will receive about $600,000 more per year to work with.

But a large group of hotel owners, like Wayne Purcell of the Riverhouse, have felt for some time that Visit Bend does not serve their needs and told the head of Visit Bend just that at a private and tense meeting earlier this week.

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