News Flash

START Bus

Posted on: July 16, 2018

START Bus & Lodging Tax

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In the General Election on November 6, 2018 all registered Teton County voters will be able to cast their vote either for or against the 2% Lodging Tax in Teton County.  The 2% lodging tax has been in effect since 2010.


WHAT IS THE LODGING TAX?

The lodging tax is a 2% tax that is added to all visitor stays in any Teton County hotel, motel, or visitation rental property.  All tax revenues collected are spent by the Town of Jackson, Teton County, or the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board (JHTTB).  

Generally, Wyoming state law requires that 90% of lodging tax revenues be spent on promoting and generating tourism within a county, with the remaining 10% allocated for mitigating visitor impact.  However, because Teton County collects over $1.5 million in lodging tax, the split automatically converts to 40% visitor impact and 60% promotion.  


TOWN & COUNTY FUNDED PROJECTS 40% FUNDED 

The Town of Jackson and Teton County are responsible for 40% of the revenues generated by the Lodging Tax.   According to Wyoming State Statue, 3/4 of these funds must be used to address visitor impact services, and up to 1/4 can be used to support general government services.   In Fiscal Year 2017, the Town and County used this allocation of funding to support START Bus (public transportation), Jackson Hole Fire/EMS (public safety), Parks & Recreation and Pathways (maintenance, repairs, etc.), and other visitor and resident services (visitor centers, Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, etc.).

The Town of Jackson and Teton County receive 40% of the funds collected annually from the county-wide 2% Lodging Tax.   The Town and County split this 40% based upon point of sale. This 40% is used as a mitigation fee that pays for visitor impacts.  Last year this amount totaled $2.5 million. Here are the breakdowns from the County and the Town:


COUNTY LODGING TAX BUDGET
From July 2016 - June 2017 the Teton County Lodging Tax contributed $1,593,341 to the County budget. It was allocated to the following County services:

  • Parks and Recreation: $542,895 (34%)
  • START Bus: $451,578 (28%)
  • Fire / EMS: $276,500 (17%)
  • Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum: $150,000 (10%)
  • Pathways: $115,705 (7%)
  • Grand Targhee Transportation: $18,000 (1%)
  • Total Solar Eclipse Planning: $13,663 (1%)
  • Fish and Wildlife Service (National Elk Refuge Visitors Center): $10,0009 (1%)


TOWN LODGING TAX BUDGET
From July 2016 - June 2017 the Teton County Lodging Tax contributed $920,924 to the Town of Jackson budget. It was allocated to the following Town services.

  • Public transportation: $345,886 (40%)
  • Maintenance and Parks: $198,936 (23%)
  • Town Pathways: $85,677 (10%)
  • General Fund: $230,231 (27%) - the general fund is a catch-all fund that pays for 'everything' in the town of Jackson including salaries for police officers and victim services employees as well as for equipment such as wastewater treatment facilities, snow plow trucks, etc.,

The remaining 60% of the funds collected is used for local events, visitor services, winter airline service support and destination promotion for shoulder and winter months. 


START BUS
Public Transportation


In FY 2017, the Town of Jackson and Teton County added approximately $800,000 to the START Bus budget using Lodging Tax revenues.  These funds were used to support the general operating costs associated with providing public transportation options for the community.   START recorded record ridership in 2017, providing a sustainable alternative to auto travel, thus helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.   The use of Lodging Tax funds for these activities and projects reduces the amount of other local governmental general revenue required for these services.  


Teton County / Jackson Parks and Recreation


In FY 2017 approximately $200,000 of the income received by the Town of Jackson through the Lodging Tax was used to fund cleaning and maintaining public restrooms as part of the Jackson/Teton County Parks and Recreation Department.  Public restrooms in the downtown have a direct link to the impacts of guests to our community.    Funds dedicated to this account are utilized to clean, service and maintain public restrooms throughout the Town of Jackson.   These funds are also utilized to maintain and plow sidewalks within the Town of Jackson.  The Town of Jackson implements a robust snow plowing program throughout the winter months providing a walkable downtown for residents and visitors alike.  


Jackson Hole Community Pathways

In FY 2017, the Town of Jackson and Teton County added approximately $200,000 to the Jackson Hole Community Pathways budget using Lodging Tax revenues.  These funds were used for the maintenance and repair of existing pathways, as well as maintaining and improving the pathway wayfinding signage system, resulting in a viable and well-maintained transportation and recreation option for visitors and residents.  The use of Lodging Tax funds for these activities and projects reduces the amount of other local government general revenue required for these activities.  

Jackson Hole Fire/EMS

In FY 2017, the Town of Jackson and Teton County added approximately $500,000 to the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS and other public safety related Departments' budgets (including the Jackson Police Department and Jackson Victim Services Department).  These funds were used to support the general operating costs of these Departments, and to purchase new equipment for Jackson Hole Fire / EMS.  These funds are critical to support ever-increasing demand for safety and emergency services.  The use of Lodging Tax funds for these activities and projects reduces the amount of other local government general revenue required for these services.

JACKSON HOLE TRAVEL & TOURISM BOARD

The Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Joint Powers Board members are appointed by the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners to carry out state statutory requirements mandating that 60% of the lodging tax funds collected are used for marketing and promotion of Teton County.  While a portion of the JHTTB budget is used to promote tourism for the shoulder season, the majority of the funds are used to support visitor services and community events that enhance the visitor experience and engage our local community in arts, education, recreation, and culture.   Prior to the lodging tax, visitor services and major events were funded by the Town and County.  

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