County-Wide Lodging Tax to go into Effect July 1

Under state statute, the county-wide lodging tax approved by Sheridan County voters this week will go into effect on July 1 – the start of the next fiscal year.

Voters gave nearly two-to-one approval to enlarge what has been a city-only tax, with nearly 7,800 casting their ballots in favor of the county-wide tax while just under 3,700 were against the measure.

Shawn Parker, who's executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism, the organization that administers lodging tax revenues, was jubilant.

The 4 percent tax is collected from people who stay at hotels, motels and other lodging facilities in the area. Parker said starting July 1, that will include everything from the lodges in the Bighorns to area guest ranches, properties at Ucross to campsites.

He said that includes a significant number of rooms, about 400 to 500 total. The funds collected from the tax are, again under statute, used to promote the area for tourism.

Parker said if lodging facilities across the county were at 100 percent capacity, the lodging tax would generate an additional $880,000. However, he said, 100 percent occupancy is unlikely.

He said a more conservative estimate of 50 percent occupancy would generate around $400,000 more in tax revenues than are currently being generated by the city-wide lodging tax.

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