Northwest NEWS

September 14, 1998

Local News

Bothell considers hotel/motel tax

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   BOTHELL--Hoping to boost Bothell, the top municipal official there is recommending the City Council impose a new tax.
   Interim City Manager Mike Caldwell estimates a hotel/motel tax could collect $50,000 which would go into a special fund for tourist promotions.
   The council could begin levying the tax as soon as this November, though an advisory group will be formed in the meanwhile to analyze the proposal, Caldwell said.
   The tax on rooms wouldn't raise the price of a hotel stay on the Snohomish County half of Bothell, but could cost travelers and others who stay away from home a slight amount on the King County side.
   Bothell can impose a 2 percent room tax in the northern county which would be redirected from the sales tax there, but Caldwell said a 1 percent tax in King County could raise the price of a stay there.
   Before the tax can be levied, Caldwell said the council would have to name an advisory committee with two representatives from the hotel industry, two from user groups such as the Northshore Chamber of Commerce or Greater Bothell Association, and at least one from the council itself.
   Funds could also be used for buying and operating a tourist facility or building a "multi-jurisdictional facility."
   Asked if funds could go towards a Northshore performing arts center, Caldwell said, "Yes, but nobody has asked us [to do this]. It's not driving the issue."
   Instead, he said he'd known about the tax, and after reading an economic consultant's report which he said suggested the city do more to promote itself, the idea was born.
   "I thought, well, hey, here's a way to accomplish some of the things in the report," he said. Caldwell termed tourism the fourth-largest industry in the state. Bothell has three hotels now with a number of others planned.