Last fall the Ceres Chamber of Commerce initiated a public education campaign to inform local residents about the city’s transient occupancy tax and how an increase could generate more revenue for the city coffers.
A transient occupancy tax (TOT), sometimes called a hotel/motel tax, is a tax paid by persons staying in a hotel, motel or other lodging for a period of 30 days or less, and is based on a percentage of the room charge. It is paid by the occupant of lodging to the proprietor of the hotel or motel who in turn remits the money to the city, which may spend it for any lawful municipal purpose.
Local residents of Ceres would not pay into the tax unless they utilize the services of the hotel or motel. The tax is used as a means of recouping some small portion of the cost of City services and facilities used by such persons during their stay in the City.
Currently, the City of Ceres imposes a TOT of five percent (5%) of the rent charged to temporary occupants of hotel, motel or similar types of temporary lodging facilities. The tax does not apply to persons who rent homes, apartments or similar permanent living accommodations.
In a recent study session of the Ceres City Council, the Council directed staff to begin the process to propose a 5% increase to the TOT, keeping in line with the tax imposed by neighboring cities. Both the cities of Modesto and Turlock impose a nine percent (9%) TOT on occupants of their hotels and motels and are currently considering increases.
Ceres city staff is working on placing the tax measure on the November 2015 election ballot. If adopted by a majority of voters, the tax measure could generate an additional $70,000 in revenue. There has been no increase in the city’s TOT rate since November of 1971, a period in excess of 30 years.
The measure was placed on the 2008 ballot, but failed to pass voter approval. Ceres’ current tax rate is among the lowest in California. Approval of the tax measure will make the city’s TOT rate consistent with the majority of California cities.
For more information on this item, please contact the Ceres Chamber at (209) 537-2601 or email us at info@CeresChamber.com.