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City staff looking into accommodation tax

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

City council has approved, in principle, the establishment of a Municipal Accommodation Tax, which could bring in approximately $700,000 annually for the city.

The tax is four per cent on transient accommodations, which is a room or group of rooms not occupied as a principle residence for 30 days or less.

While the report given to council estimates approximately $700,000 in annual revenue from the tax, it acknowledges things may have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It should be recognized that the revenue estimates in the C.B.R.E. report were derived prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the current economic conditions, the projected revenue estimates may be substantially less than originally forecast,” reads the report.

However, there are some conditions which need to be met before the tax can be fully approved.

Staff needs to report back to the city’s finance committee with an implementation plan, as well as an associated bylaw before the 2021 budget is approved.

Before council could move forward with the plan, Ward 4 City Councillor Derek Giberson expressed his approval for the new tax, stating his support for this new method to create revenues shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

According to Commissioner of Finance Stephanie Sinnott, staff will come back with more than one option for council, as well as a recommendation as to which staff would choose.