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Voters to Rule on Thousand Oaks Bed Tax

October 27, 1987|SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writer

In a ballot measure opposed by hotel and motel operators, Thousand Oaks voters will decide Nov. 3 whether to approve an increase in the city's bed tax from 7% to 10% to raise funds for city improvements.

If passed, Measure B would authorize the City Council to increase the tax, which raises about $900,000 annually from the 10 hotels and motels in the city, Thousand Oaks Finance Director Robert Biery said. The increase would raise $300,000 a year in estimated general revenue funds, he said.

The tax increase, which by state law must be authorized by voters, has been tentatively earmarked by the City Council to subsidize a senior citizens' center and a separate teen center, as well as park improvements and public concerts and plays, city officials said.

But hotel operators oppose it, saying it will discourage business by increasing the price of rooms.

"Not only would it affect the price of hotels, it's going to have an economic impact on other businesses in the community," said Susan Rapoport, general manager of the 260-room Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel, the largest hotel in Thousand Oaks. "If guests have to spend more at their hotel, they will have less to spend shopping."

Rapoport said she was uncertain how much business might be lost because of the bed tax increase. "But it makes us less competitive," she said.

The Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, whose members were divided over support of the measure, has agreed to take no position on the tax hike, chamber President Steve Rubenstein said. The chamber hopes to persuade the City Council to earmark some of the money from a higher bed tax to promote tourism, he said.

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