Opposition to continued city role in marketing
For almost five years, the City of Healdsburg has acted as a collection and distribution point for a specific chunk of tourism dollars. One-eighth of the total amount of bed tax collected by hotels, inns and bed and breakfast establishments, or 2 percentage points of the total 16 percent in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT, sometimes known as “bed tax” or “Tax On Tourists”) — is collected from visitors and passed through city coffers to the Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District (HTID).
The HTID has come under fire from community members who think Healdsburg has too many tourists, too many hotels and too few parking spaces as a result of a community focused on tourism.
An excerpt from a mass email sent by community member Merrilyn Joyce, who often speaks out at city council meetings about the impacts of tourism, reads: “It makes no sense to entertain an extension of the tourism promotion district before it is shown, without reservation and with the community’s agreement, that giving more tax money to promote tourism is truly sustainable for livability of Healdsburg.”
Joyce and others note that the city plans to commission a study of tourism sustainability and suggest that the HTID renewal be delayed until that study is complete and the community has a better grasp on impacts beyond the obvious changes, such as parking availability and pressure on housing prices.
Brian Sommer, the general manager of Hotel Les Mars, serves as the president of the HTID and argues that the…
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