After reading Kenneth Lipp’s articles in last week’s News-Times, one can only come to the conclusion that the financial impact of Measure 21-203 is as uncertain as the numbers. Phase out of STRs in residential neighborhoods of unincorporated Lincoln County (ULC) will not happen for five years; thus no immediate drop in revenue, nor lost jobs. STR investors, waiting two years to acquire a license, will know where to locate and operate an STR. This will potentially result in increased revenue from the start of the measure adoption.
A recent News Guard article noted that tourist dollars have increased already in 2021 without a rise in numbers of tourists. Occupancies are up, however, the greatest change was the daily rate increase due to high demand. With high demand, daily rates need not decrease because of a drop in the number occupants allowed.
Oregon Employment Department and the county finance director input encourages better understanding of the numbers, and sort facts from lies. The Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) budget number of $3.5 million presented by the county finance director had no breakdown for dollars attributed to STRs versus motels, nor for STRs in unincorporated Lincoln County. Via Oregon used a ratio of 30 percent STRs, or $1.2 million of lost revenue. Finally, Oregon law requires that 70 percent of transient lodging tax revenue be spent on tourism promotion, with the remaining 30 percent left for the county or city to determine best use.
Commissioners, read the articles. Commissioner Hunt stated that he comes from the banking industry, looks at the numbers. Yet he stated, “If the ballot measure passes, it could have crippling financial impact to the county.” Please, assign a dollar amount to “crippling.” If commissioners Hall and Jacobson get accurate numbers for TLT from the finance director, they may determine how many dollars will really be lost from those “county coffers” during each of the five years of phase out. Perhaps none?