Election 2022 | Measures J and K see majority support – Times-Standard

Partial results from Tuesday’s statewide primary election suggest a majority of the Humboldt County electorate supports two collection measures listed on their ballots.

Measure J, an increase and update of the Transitional Occupancy Tax, and Measure K, a continuation of the Abandoned Car Reduction Fee, both passed the simple majority hurdle in the 7 June. The final election night report from the Humboldt County Elections Office shows that 63.28% of voters approved of Measure J while 79.5% of voters approved of Measure K with nearly 14,500 votes counted.

The elections office still had about 20,000 ballots to process on Wednesday and additional election updates will be released in the future.

Measure J proposes to change the definition of “living space” under the transitional occupancy tax to include RV parks and private campgrounds while increasing the tax from 10% to 12% in unincorporated areas of Humboldt County.

As a general tax collected when visitors stay overnight at hotels and other lodging establishments in the county, the proceeds are deposited into the county’s general fund and may be used for general government purposes without restriction, as set forth in a county council analysis in primary election information. guide.

The change is set to take effect on January 1, 2023, and it may remain in place until it is repealed by voters. The measure will be subject to public scrutiny and annual audits.

The county estimated in a Notice of Argument that Measure J can generate approximately $3.08 million per year.

Parties in favor of Measure J highlighted how it would increase funding available for general services in Humboldt County, such as 911 emergency response, rural fire and ambulance services, county road repair, children’s mental health, and emergency communications, among others.

“Measure J is paid by hotel/motel guests and RV campers only, and is NOT a tax on local homeowners or property owners. YES on J ensures that out-of-town visitors pay their fair share for the local services they use,” partially reads an argument for the article submitted to the Humboldt County Office of Elections. “Over the past 25 years, Sacramento has taken nearly $400 million in revenue from the Humboldt County budget. Measure J provides us with a guaranteed source of local funding generated by tourists and visitors that cannot be tapped by Sacramento. »

The argument in favor is signed by Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal, Eureka City Council member and Ink People executive director Leslie Castellano, and Oberon Grill owner Nicholas Kohl. The Humboldt County Board of Elections received arguments in favor of extending the Measure J hotel tax and none against.

As previously reported by The Times-Standard, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to place the measure on the June ballot at its March 8 regular meeting, with Supervisor Michelle Bushnell the only dissenting voice. The supervisors’ approval came just in time for the March 11 deadline to get the measure on the June ballot.

Hotel owners were not initially consulted by the county ahead of the vote. County staff said they interviewed the county, but not the hotel owners specifically. Local hoteliers weren’t thrilled to see Measure J receive a majority of votes on Tuesday night.

Sherry Potter, general manager of the Arcata Hotel, said her fellow members of the Humboldt Lodging Alliance were unhappy with how the story reached the polls.

“The fact that it was pushed without any support or public awareness and then telling people that (funds) could go to help the arts and it could help this and that for nothing when in fact, they’re just general fund – I think it’s going to hurt the whole county,” Potter said.

And while its operation in downtown Arcata will not be affected, it said the price increase will affect hotel and lodging operators and consumers staying in unincorporated areas.

“If you have the choice of looking for a cheaper and more central place, you will choose it. The 2% makes a difference,” she said.

“I’m disappointed he was adopted,” Potter reiterated.

Troy Ritchie, general manager of Eureka’s Carter House Inns, shared a similar view.

“The reception (from members of the Humboldt Lodging Alliance) has been negative,” he said. “I don’t think we disagree with the tax increase per se, but we’d like to get some input on where the tax money is going. If it goes into the general fund, I don’t think that will necessarily identify the things in tourism that we need to look at.

The other item put before voters, Measure K, proposed to raise approximately $160,000 annually through the renewal of associated vehicle registration fees of $1 and $2 for certain commercial vehicles to remove and eliminate damaged or dismantled vehicles. The measure will remain in place for the next 10 years with funds raised to be used to remove damaged vehicles in participating communities.

The Humboldt County Elections Office received no arguments for or against the measure.

Mario Cortez can be reached at 707-441-0526.

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