Calif. City Sending RV Park Tax Issue to Voters

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July 20, 2012 by   3 Comments

A long-simmering dispute between the city of Red Bluff, Calif., and its only RV park over the transient occupancy tax may be settled on the November ballot.

The city council this week voted 4-1 to submit to voters an ordinance restating what’s already on the books — that the 10% “bed” tax applies to RV parks, camping sites and campgrounds, the Redding Record-Searchlight reported.

The council’s action stems from efforts over recent years to collect the tax from Durango RV Resort, which opened in 2008.

In June 2011, city Finance Director Sandy Ryan sent a letter to resort management demanding almost $42,000 of taxes, interest and penalties.

While the city has maintained such facilities have been covered by its ordinance all along, it wasn’t until September that it was amended to specifically name RV parks and campgrounds in the definition of “hotel.” Officials at the time deemed the move a clarification, not an expansion of the tax.

City Manager Rick Crabtree said Thursday (July 19) that Durango lawyers disagreed, arguing the move was illegal under Proposition 218, the 1996 Right to Vote on Taxes Act, and suggesting the matter be put on the ballot.

“Rather than entering into a potentially protracted and expensive legal battle over these issues, staff recommends that the City Council submit the issue to voters for resolution,” Crabtree wrote in a report to the council.

He estimated the city’s loss in revenue from the 174-space resort at $52,000 for the first six months of this year.

Contacted Thursday, Durango co-manager Pam Cappello said she was concerned about how the tax would affect the business and its “competitive edge.”

“There’s not so much consideration for the fiscal impact to the resort,” she said. Still, Cappello looks forward to a resolution of the issue.

“We now have an opportunity to present this to the people of Red Bluff and let them make a decision,” she said.

Red Bluff’s original ordinance was adopted in 1965, setting the bed tax at 4%, and it was amended several times over the years. The tax applies only to stays of 30 days or less and proceeds go into the general fund.

In Redding, RV parks pay a 10% bed tax, Deputy City Manager Greg Clark said.


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3 Responses to “Calif. City Sending RV Park Tax Issue to Voters”

  1. Scooter on July 20th, 2012 1:47 pm

    I don’t know what revenue the RVers bring to Red Bluff but this is sure way to eliminate ant dollars coming to town. I doesn’t take very long to have the word spread to avoid this town! It is off my Bucket List for sure

  2. David Strait on July 20th, 2012 1:58 pm

    Also frustrating to Durango is that they happen to be within the city limits, where nearby (older) competitive rv parks are in unincorporated areas. So the city’s money grab does not reach those properties and the comparative price will be 10% higher for Durango.

    Durango RV Resort is an amazing facility. Google them to see!

  3. ML on July 20th, 2012 3:36 pm

    Why would you charge the same tax to people that bring their own bedding , own food, own lights, own insurance as those that are car travelers that hit one night and run the next morning. RVers buy more diesel , more food, and create less wear and tear on the environment than motel folks.