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Smart Voter
Sonoma County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Measure G
Transient Occupancy Tax
City of Cotati

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 902 / 36.0% Yes votes ...... 1,604 / 64.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 22 4:22pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (5/5)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the ordinance increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax from ten (10) percent to twelve (12) percent be adopted?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
The City of Cotati currently imposes a tax in the amount of 10% of the rent charged to persons who stay at a hotel within the Cotati City limits. This tax is called the transient occupancy tax ("TOT"). The tax is paid by the hotel room occupant directly to the hotel operator at the time the occupant pays his or her hotel bill. Hotel operators hold the collected taxes in trust for the benefit of the City and remit the taxes quarterly to the City tax administrator.

If this measure is approved by the electorate, the TOT shall increase by 2% from the present 10% rate to 12%. Therefore, if this measure is approved, a person who stays in a hotel within the City of Cotati will pay 12% of the rent charged by the hotel operator as a TOT. All of the TOT revenues collected by the City are used, and shall continue to be used, for City general fund purposes.

The ordinance proposed by this ballot measure will be adopted if this measure is approved by a simple majority of those electors voting on the measure at the November 7, 2006 election.

A "yes" vote would approve an increase in the City's TOT by 2%. A "no" vote would reject the proposed 2% increase in the City's TOT.

Dated: August 7, 2006

s/Jeffery A. Walter City Attorney

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Arguments For Measure G Arguments Against Measure G
The Transient Occupancy Tax would be paid by visitors who rent hotel/motel rooms in Cotati. It will not be paid by Cotati residents. Revenue generated from the Transient Occupancy Tax would help to pay for our City's police, street maintenance, recreation, economic development, and other general government operations.

Cotati's current Transient Occupancy Tax rate is 10 percent. While there are currently no hotel/motel rooms located in Cotati, the City is anticipating future development of hotels. Other cities in Sonoma County have a 12 percent tax rate, so an adjustment in the Transient Occupancy Tax rate to 12 percent will keep Cotati in line with our neighboring communities.

Cotati has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few years due to the State returning less and less of your property taxes to the cities. When Cotati has hotels/motels within the city limits, the Transient Occupancy Tax increase will help make up this budget shortfall without it coming out of your pocket. This is a fair tax because it is simply charging visitors a fair share for the services they receive from the community. If visitors do not pay their fair share, then Cotati residents have to subsidize them.

The City Council wants to develop revenues to provide the services and programs this community wants and deserves without levying taxes upon its citizens. The Transient Occupancy Tax is a beneficial way to produce new revenue from tourists, visitors, and business travelers who use City services, without Cotati taxpayers having to expend their hard-earned money.

Help your community have safer streets and neighborhoods and more recreational opportunities. Please vote Yes on Measure G.

s/ Janet Orchard
Mayor, City of Cotati

s/ Geoffrey Fox
Vice Mayor, City of Cotati

s/ Pat Gilardi
Councilmember, City of Cotati

s/ Lisa Moore
Councilmember, City of Cotati

Rebuttal to Arguments For
No rebuttal was submitted to argument in favor of Measure G.
The City of Cotati is asking the voters to approve a increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax or TOT from its current ten percent (10%) to twelve percent (12%). The City wants to be at the same level as other cities in Sonoma County. Only one problem: There are no hotels, motels, inns or lodges in Cotati. The proposed tax will stay on the books until they get a hotel, motel, inn or lodge, but who know when, where and if this will happen in a town that objects to growth or change. Since the thinking is that this tax will not affect the residents of the town, who cares. This is the same fuzzy thinking that affects other government agencies. Apparently, it does not matter to the City that it costs public money to place this tax on the ballot, and there is no indication how in the future this money will be spent or if there is a sunset provision, or that visitors to our County are already paying, in addition to the TOT, high sales taxes. Talk about taxation for taxation's sake; this is the prime example. Vote No on this nonsense tax.

s/ Fred H. Levin, Executive Director

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The City is wise to plan responsibly for its future growth which may include hotels. The increase to Cotati's Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT, from 10% to 12% places no financial impact on Cotati taxpayers. By including this measure on the ballot during a regular election cycle, the taxpayers save the added costs of holding a special election or including an item on a future ballot that doesn't already include local election or local ballot measures. It makes good sense to bring Cotati's TOT in line with other Sonoma County cities and to provide for the adequate collection of TOT funds that will finance future public safety, recreation, and other important City Services.

s/ Janet Orchard
Mayor of Cotati

Full Text of Measure G
The people of the City of Cotati do ordain as follows:

The first sentence of section 3.12.030 of the Cotati Municipal Code is amended to read as follows:

For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of twelve (12) percent of the rent charged by the operator.

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