Spending the night in Garden Grove will cost visitors more than before ,if voters agree to raise the hotel visitors tax this November.
City Council members agreed Tuesday night to place a measure on the upcoming ballot requesting voters to increase the tax from 13 percent to 14.5 percent.
The increase in hotel tax would generate approximately $1.5 million annually that the City of Garden Grove could utilize directly for a number of city services.
“The raise in taxes would add less than one dollar to the average cost of a room,” Director of Finance Kingsley Okereke said.
“Public safety, street operations and maintenance and other quality of life services would benefit from the increase in hotel taxes,” he said.
According to Okereke, the proposed increase in visitor tax would still be one half percent less than Anaheim. He also pointed out that Garden Grove has full authority over the tax when compared to other taxes.
“This is the one revenue source that the city has the authority to set and collect,” Okereke said. “Unlike property taxes and sales tax that goes straight to the state or county then filters down to the city.”
Council members Kris Beard and Bruce Broadwater will submit an argument in favor of the tax-increase at a future meeting.
Should the tax increase be approved in November, the funds generated from the tax could help to fund a two-year early retirement program that was also voted on Tuesday night.
The program could help 93 Garden Grove Employees’ Association and Orange County Employees’ Association members enter early retirement.
The program would benefit public agencies experiencing downsizing, layoffs or organizational changes and financial pressures and if all 93 members were to retire early, the cost to the city would be approximately $3.4 million.
Of the 93 members, only a fraction of them are eligible for early retirement, however. Estimates suggest that only 10 members currently fit the criteria and if they were to retire, the future cost to the city would be just over $400,000 dollars.
Lastly, four-fifths of the City Council also agreed to an ordinance of a tax override on property taxes Tuesday night in order to pay for paramedic services.
The tax rate for the next year shall be seven cents for every $100 dollars of property value.
City council found it necessary to implement the tax override in order to raise an estimated $7 million to pay and maintain emergency medical services to the city.