By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
On Tuesday, Angels Camp residents will vote on whether to raise the tax on hotel and motel room stays by 4 percent.
The transient occupancy tax is 6 percent and brings about $400,000 a year to the city's general fund, said Blaine Oborn, city finance director. By increasing it to 10 percent, the city would gain $270,000 in additional revenue for roads, emergency services and tourism promotion.
Calaveras County Elections Office mailed out 1,917 ballots to eligible voters within the city, and Elections Supervisor Sandy Rader said about 40 percent have been returned.
The actual election date is Tuesday, but this is a mail-in election, and Rader said about 25 ballots a day are arriving at the elections office in San Andreas.
"Generally, the turnout's higher with a mail-in ballot," she said.
It's also a special election, which means two-thirds of the voters who return ballots must give the OK.
"Increasing this tax is hugely important," said Judy King, city administrative assistant. "We've just hired a part-time fire chief, and the state is cutting out grants and other funding, so the city needs the tax increase," she said. "And we're very dependent on tourism, so anything the visitors' center can do to promote the city is helpful."
In November, the city council voted to attempt the TOT increase. It also voted to divvy the increase if it's approved by thirds among roads, tourism promotion and emergency services. The first 6 percent will continue to go into the city's general fund.