MEASURE B – FULL TEXT
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF SAN BENITO, STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AMENDING THE SAN BENITO COUNTY CODE TO INCREASE THE TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX TO A RATE OF TWELVE PERCENT (12%), AMENDING THE DEFINTION OF OPERATOR TO CHARGE THE TAX ON ALL PERSON RECEIVING REVENUE FROM HOTEL OCCUPANCY (SUCH AS ON-LINE HOTEL BROKERS AND VACATION RENTAL AGENCIES)
THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTY OF SAN BENITO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION I: Section 5.03.052 of the San Benito County Code is hereby set forth for voter approval to read as follows:
§ 5.03.052 TAX IMPOSED.
A tax of twelve percent (12%) is levied and imposed on all rent paid to the operator of any hotel in the unincorporated area of San Benito County, by any transient for renting, using, or occupying a room or rooms in those hotels, to be paid and collected as provided in this Article. The tax shall constitute a debt owed by the transient and the operator to the County, which debt shall be extinguished only by payment to the operator, and then to the County. The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid. If the rent is paid in installments, a proportionate share of the tax shall be paid with each installment. The unpaid tax shall be due upon the transient’s ceasing to occupy space in the hotel. If for any reason the tax due is not paid to the operator of the hotel, the Tax Administrator may require that the tax be paid directly to the Tax Administrator.
SECTION II: The definition of “Operator” contained in Section 5.03.051 of the San Benito County Code is hereby set forth for voter approval to read as follows:
OPERATOR. “Operator” means any person:
(1) possessing or having an ownership interest in a hotel, or who is the proprietor of the hotel, whether in the capacity of owner, lessee, sublessee, mortgagee in possession, licensee or any other capacity;
(2) engaged in the business of operating a hotel; or
(3) receiving any consideration for the rental of a hotel room for sleeping accommodations, including, without limitation, any broker, service provider, or other intermediary:
(i) with which a hotel has contracted to arrange for the rental of a hotel room for sleeping accommodations; or
(ii) that has acquired any hotel room for subsequent rental from the hotel for sleeping accommodations.
Where the operator performs his or her functions through a managing agent of any type or character other than an employee, the managing agent shall also be deemed an operator for the purposes of this article and shall have the same duties and liabilities as his or her principal. Compliance with the provisions of this article by either the principal or the managing agent, however, shall be considered to be compliance by both.
SECTION III. TRANSITION PERIOD. In the interim period between the June 5, 2018 election and December 31, 2018, for the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay tax in the amount of 8% of the rent charged by the operator. The increase to twelve percent pursuant to Section 1 and the amendment to Section 5.03.051 as specified in Section 2, above, shall be effective January 1, 2019.
SECTION IV: NATURE OF TAX. If approved by the majority of the electorate voting on the measure, the ordinance will increase the current transient occupancy tax rate to twelve (12%) of rent charged. The transient occupancy tax is imposed upon transients for the privilege of occupying defined hotels located within the unincorporated territory of San Benito County. The tax would be collected by hotel operators primarily in the same manner as the current transient occupancy tax is collected, except that the tax may now also be collected from on-line hotel brokers and vacation rental agencies. The collection of the tax from hotel operators would be administered by the Auditor of San Benito County, as provided in Article III, of Chapter 5.03 of the San Benito County Code.
SECTION V: GENERAL TAX. The transient occupancy tax imposed by this ordinance is a general tax within the meaning of Government Code Section 53721 and Article XIII C, Section 1(a) of the California Constitution. The revenue generated by this general tax is available for general governmental purposes. To that end, the Auditor-Controller is instructed to deposit the revenue from the tax into the County General Fund and to include his/her estimate of the revenue from this general tax, together with his estimates of other revenue sources, in the tabulation that the is annually required to prepare by Government Code Section 29060. The revenue from this general tax shall be made available to the Board of Supervisors for annual appropriation in the County’s budget for any lawful expenditure. Nothing in this ordinance or in any other ordinance, advisory measure, resolution, or policy shall be construed as limiting, in any way, the amount or the objects of the appropriations and expenditures that can be made from the revenue of the tax, nor be construed as creating a continuing appropriation.
SECTION VI. IDENTIFICATION OF TAX AND STATEMENT OF FACTS ON HOW TAX REVENUE CAN BE SPENT. As stated above, the tax imposed by this ordinance can be is enacted solely for general governmental purposes for the County and not for specific purposes. The revenue from this tax shall be placed in the County’s general fund and can be spent for unrestricted general revenue purposes.
SECTION VII: COMPLIANCE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT (CEQA). Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15378(b) (4), adoption of this tax increase ordinance as a government funding mechanism is not a project subject to the requirements of CEQA. Prior to commencement of any project that may result from the expenditure of revenues from this tax increase, any necessary environmental review required by CEQA shall be completed.
SECTION VIII: SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the ordinance and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
SECTION IX: ELECTION. Voter approval of this ordinance shall have the effect of increasing the transient occupancy tax and making the change to the definition of “Operator”. If the measure is defeated, the transient occupancy tax will remain at the existing transient occupancy rate of eight percent (8%) and the San Benito County Code remains unchanged.
SECTION X. EFFECTIVE DATE AND CODIFICATION. This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its adoption by a majority of the electorate voting on the ordinance at the June 5, 2018 election general election. Upon adoption, Sections I and II of this ordinance shall be codified; the remaining sections shall not be codified. As set forth in Section III, the increase to twelve percent (12%) and the change to the definition of “Operator” shall be effective January 1, 2019.
Approved by Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Benito on the 6th day of March, 2018, by the following vote, for adoption by the electorate at the election of June 5, 2018:
ABSENT: Supervisors: ______________________________
Anthony Botelho, Chair
Board of Supervisors
ATTEST: APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:
Janet Slibsager, Barbara J. Thompson,
Clerk of the Board County Counsel