News from Jackson Hole Radio November 17, 2020

After Losing Sales Tax Increase, Town Looks to Increase Property Taxes and Fees

by Jackson Hole Radio News

The Jackson Town Council, fresh off of the failure of the 1% sales tax increase vote, met Monday to discuss the budget realities facing them.

Because the community did not vote for the increase in sales tax, some on the council said they want to increase property taxes inside the city limits, raise the lodging tax percentage, increase fees charged to residents who use the building and planning departments, create a new fund to charge stormwater system impacts, and institute paid parking.

Initially, Town Manager Larry Pardee offered a bit of good news to the council noting that sales tax revenues have come in millions of dollars above the expected amount year-to-date but cautioned that big budget problems still face the town.

In the wake of COVID-19, the town projected a 50% decrease in both sales tax and lodging tax revenue and while actual collections were 3.7 million dollars better than that, the budget is still over a million dollars in the red.

While the town would have to put an increase to the Lodging Tax on the ballot, they have the authority to increase property taxes without going to the voters and could raise 8 mils of tax to put into their general fund.

The council will also consider a stormwater enterprise fund which would be a new revenue-generating policy creating a designated fund for stormwater management and is similar to a water or sewer user fee. The proposed new fee would charge property owners in town, based on the impact their property has on the town’s stormwater system.

Also under consideration is an increase to permits and fees for town services. Pardee noted that many of the fees that the Town of Jackson charges have not been increased for years.