With a new transient occupancy tax (TOT) for West Marin in place since the start of this year, a public working group is being formed to help recommend uses for the tax revenues to support community housing needs. Applications are being accepted until May 28 for the Measure W Working Group, convened and overseen by the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA).
The Measure W tax rate increase in West Marin became effective January 1, and County staff has focused on getting short-term rental operators – especially those using online reservation platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, or VRBO – to register, report and pay TOT. Measure W, designed to address tourism impacts on West Marin communities, will generate about $1.3 million each year. It increased the TOT in West Marin from 10 percent to 14 percent for hotels and short-term rentals, and it applied a 4 percent tax to commercial campground visitors. The geographic boundaries affected by the tax rate increase include all of coastal West Marin from Muir Beach to Dillon Beach and inland communities including Nicasio and the San Geronimo Valley. A list of parcels affected by Measure W is available at marincounty.org/tot.
The ordinance, which has no sunset date, requires all funds will be used exclusively in West Marin. Distribution of revenues will have local oversight and annual audits.
TOT is collected by business operators from short-term rental guests (stays of 30 days or less) on behalf of the County. The funds are used in a variety of ways to reduce the impacts of tourism and to fund projects that benefit the West Marin. Funds for enhanced fire and emergency protection services, rental support, new construction of long-term housing, and housing for persons with disabilities are among the options that could be funded in part by TOT revenue.
The Measure W Working Group will form this summer and begin with initial monthly meetings at West Marin locations to be determined later. The group’s feedback will help inform CDA’s recommendations to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, which must approve appropriations of Measure W funds. The Working Group will be composed of up to seven members, who will be selected by CDA Director Brian Crawford after applications are reviewed. Anyone with an interest in housing, who lives or works in West Marin is encouraged to apply.
The application deadline is 5 p.m. May 28. Questions may be emailed to CDA Planning Manager Leelee Thomas.
For more information on the requirements of short-term rental operators visit www.marincounty.org/str.