It’s not here yet, but it’s a safe bet that a municipal accommodation tax will be implemented in Timmins.
At last night’s regular meeting, city council heard from its tourism manager, Guy Lamarche about his work towards drawing up a governance structure and bylaw to implement a four-percent tax. It would be paid by anyone staying in a local hotel, motel or AirBnB.
Lamarche said the tax – “MAT” for short – would generate about one-million dollars a year.
“The net revenues would be used as follows,” Lamarche said. “One: to promote tourism development and marketing; and two: to provide a new source of revenue for the municipality.”
At least half of it would go towards tourism. The city could spend its share as it sees fit. But Lamarche suggested that part of it also go to the tourism sector.
Mayor George Pirie said he’s excited about the potential… and Councillor Noella Rinaldo welcomed a revenue stream that doesn’t come from Timmins taxpayers.
And it’s alright by the Chamber of Commerce, which represents the business community.
While outlining municipal budget priorities to council last night, Chamber vice-president Val Venneri offered qualified support.
“The Chamber encourages the city to cap the municipal accommodation tax at four percent,” said Venneri. “ Additionally, we ask you to allow businesses paying the municipal accommodation tax to participate in the oversight and distribution of the tourism-focused portion of these revenues.”
Later in the meeting, Coun. Michelle Boileau set the record straight: It won’t be the businesses paying the tax, it will be the people staying in their establishments who pay it.
To Venneri’s second point, Lamarche assured council that the hotel operators will be included… along with several other groups.
A bylaw to adopt the tax will come before council later in the year.