Llano County -
Now that the Marriott has opened, and there is
the potential for the 7% hotel occupancy tax to generate an estimated $600,000 annually,
all of a sudden residents in northern Llano County have begun to lobby the Commissioner's
Court to impose this tax.
If the county successfully adopts a hotel
occupancy tax, while Horseshoe Bay is still an unincorporated area, they will be entitled
to continue to collect that tax after we incorporate (if we do). Conversely, if we
incorporate before they impose this tax, we would be excluded from their jurisdiction for
ARTICLE APPEARING IN THE LLANO
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committee will study Llano County hotel/motel occupancy tax
LLANO COUNTY -- The
possibility of a county-wide hotel-motel occupancy tax will receive closer scrutiny from
an ad hoc committee for study of the question appointed Monday by the Llano County
Commissioners Court. The committee was created in response to a formal request from
citizens, headed by Fran Merritt of Castell.
Appearing before the court June 27, Merritt reported that each of four meetings was
attended by an almost entirely different group of people. "Not everyone is 100
percent in favor of a tax, and we came up with more questions than answers," she
said. "The only thing for sure is that everyone wants to improve the economy of Llano
County and tourism is a good way to do that.
bottom line seems to be that citizens in a loose-knit group are not getting
anywhere."We are seeking unification through a court appointed committee."
In January the court responded to the citizen request by adopting a resolution requesting
state approval of a county hotel occupancy tax. A group represented by Rusty Brandon,
owner of Hi-Line Lake Resort on Lake Buchanan, had urged the court to act quickly to
achieve the next step in the process, presentation of a bill before the 79th Legislature.
That step depended on action by State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran of Fredericksburg or State
Sen. Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay. Enough opposition was posed to prevent legislation from
moving forward, but the court's resolution might still be honored in the 80th session of
the Texas Legislature.
The committee appointed by the court will continue a community education and will organize
community feedback which can then be used to make a decision about possible legislation.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Duane Stueven, appointed as liaison to the ad hoc committee, said
that it was his hope that by September 2006 a report or proposal could be completed.
Merritt is one of the members from Leon Tucker's Precinct 4, which includes Gene Miller,
who has a working ranch and two bed-and-breakfast operations and Randy Leifeste, who
operates Castell General Store and a guest lodge on the Llano River.
of Precinct 3 are Kay King of Valentine's Lodge, Henry Koenig of Rio Vista Lodge and Jon
Selby of Barb's Quilt Nook, all in Kingsland.
From Precinct 2, representatives are Ken Otte of Poppy's Pointe, Steve Buchanan of Pelican
Point Resort and Tammy McPeters of Cedar Lodge, all on Lake Buchanan. Precinct 1
Commis-sioner Wayne Brascom has yet to appoint the third committee member from his
southwestern area of the county. Ron Paynter of the Horseshoe Bay Marriott Hotel and David
Brinkman of Lost Creek Winery near Sunrise Beach Village were approved by the court.
County Judge R.G. Floyd said his appointments were made by the point of a finger to
Janelle Gray, who manages the county's indigent health program, Beverly Gatliff of Llano,
who works in the county attorney's office and Kenneth Poe of Buchanan Dam, who is employed
with Herschfield Steel in Marble Falls.
Stueven said he had been answering questions about the possibility of a tax for a couple
of years and provided each committee member with a file loaded with the information he had
Committee members will be able to talk to other citizens in their areas with background
information on the legislation that enables counties to adopt the tax, guidelines from the
governor and the secretary of state and a description of how Burnet County established a
system to collect and administer funds from hotel and motel guests.
All the committee meetings will be open to the public on dates to be announced in advance.
If you have not expressed your opinion in our
informal poll, please do so: