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Bend City Council Hears Debate On Proposed Room Tax Hike

Bend’s City Council could decide Wednesday night whether to put a measure increasing the city’s lodging tax before voters this fall.

The measure would increase the transient room tax by 2 percent.  That’s the fee paid by travelers when staying at a hotel or other temporary lodging.

The city projects the increase would bring in an additional $850,000 annually.  Most of that would be used to pay for a new marketing campaign promoting Bend in places like Seattle and Northern California.  It would also establish a cultural trust.  It would fund police and fire services.

City Manager Eric King says some smaller hotel and motel operators have said an increase would hurt their business, but other operators support it.

“The question before council is: Is there an opportunity to reconcile those differences or are they just positions that we’re never really going to come to agreement on and it’s really going to be up to the voters to make that decision though the power of their vote?” King said.

If approved, the city’s room tax would increase from 9 percent to 11 percent.

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