As I mentioned in Part 1 two weeks ago, the City of Red Lodge is currently reviewing the resort tax ordinance and making changes to it. When a proposed new version of the ordinance was released, a lot of merchants — and taxpayers — were pretty upset about it.
I wrote a letter to the City Council, and the public hearing was standing room only. They have now released a new proposal, and it looks like the Council is listening to us! The public hearing and first reading for this ordinance is tomorrow. I encourage all interested parties to show up and provide your feedback.
Here are a few of the key changes between the previous version of the proposal and the current version:
- They have consolidated everything to a single list of taxable items. If it’s on the list, resort tax applies. If it’s not on the list, it’s not taxable.
- Taxation of clothing will stay pretty much the way it has been for the last ten years: if an item of clothing has Red Lodge, Beartooth, Yellowstone, or Carbon County screened or embroidered on it, it’s taxable; otherwise, it isn’t.
- Mail order and catalog sales are off the list.
- Books are no longer considered luxuries (although magazines still are)
- The definition of luxuries has been clarified
- The property tax reduction has been clarified
- The confusing language regarding “gifts” has been removed
I hope that everyone who reads this will stop by the City offices and pick up a copy of the new proposed ordinance, read it, and then attend the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, November 26. Council member Bill Foisy has also posted an electronic copy of the proposal on his Facebook page.