Room tax takes a hike today |

Room tax takes a hike today

Measure Z will go into effect today.

South Lake Tahoe compromised last week, extending the start date from Dec. 5 to allow more time for hotel operators and vacation home property managers to collect on the new fees.

The South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association made a plea for the extension.

The ballot measure calls for an additional dollar in motel-room tax to go into general fund coffers.

The city already takes in 10 percent from standard properties and 12 percent from those in the redevelopment zone.

To handle previously booked reservations for time periods after Dec. 20, some lodging establishments have decided to pay the dollar-per-room-per-night fee themselves.

“We’re just going to eat it,” said Jerry Birdwell, Black Bear Inn owner and lodging association president.

Tahoe Keys Resort co-owner Tom Davis pledged to do the same thing, rather than quibble over the minimal charge.

Depending on the state’s financial quagmire, that fee could go up an additional 50 cents to help offset a drop in revenues.

The second part of the tax measure that passed with 56.1 percent of the vote Nov. 5 also dictates the doubling of business license fees.

Collectively, total revenue to be generated has been estimated at $1.3 million. The intent is to replace money taken out of city reserves to balance the budget.

Measure Z was spawned through a grass-roots coalition that included the lodging association, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, seniors’ groups and public safety unions.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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