Council OKs changes to lodging, alcohol ordinances

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
The City Council on Nov. 10 approved changes in two ordinances that will allow the Oregon Department of Revenue to collect the city’s transient lodging tax and clarify the difference between permits for selling and using alcohol in parks.
Finance Director Matt Apken explained that in the past several years the Department of Revenue and state Legislature made it possible for the state to collect the city’s local transient lodging tax.
“In doing that, it would ease the City’s staff burden of collecting that money,” Apken said. “Often, some of that money is likely maybe not collected for some smaller, maybe Airbnb [air bed-and-breakfast] places that the city doesn’t necessarily have a lot of information on. So the state has made it possible for us to partner with them, and to do that, we need to update our ordinance so that it had the correct language in it that allowed them to enforce the rules the way that they kind-of do it.”
The city has been charging transient lodging taxes from hotels, motels and other temporary lodging places since the 1970s. The tax helps fund city services and tourism-related promotions and facilities.
For alcohol permits for city parks, changes were made in the ordinance to clarify the difference between “sales” in parks and “use” in parks.
“We decided that we needed to make a clear delineation between an ‘alcohol use in parks’ and an ‘alcohol sales in parks,’ because ‘sales’ do require special OLCC licensing and require background checks, but ‘use’ do not require either of those steps,” City Manager Nancy Brewer said.
The current ordinance also required a signature from the city clerk indicating that the process for a permit has been completed, but the new language takes that signature out of the equation so that the signatures of those performing the processes is sufficient.
“So part of it is clarifying the language about the difference between the two applications, and the other part is about taking a step out of the process just to streamline it,” Brewer said.
Also present were Mayor Paul Aziz, and councilors Jason Bolen, Wayne Dykstra, Gamael Nassar, Wayne Rieskamp, Michelle Steinhebel and Kim Ullfers.
In other business, the council:
♦ Approved a resolution declaring an unforeseen occurrence or conditions and authorizing a budget amendment for the 2021-22 budget. When the budget was formed based on current market costs, it was estimated that the City would need $75,000 to complete a storm drainage project on Industrial Way, but due to rising costs this year, bids for the project came back at $128,000;
♦ Heard a report of appreciation from resident Kay Cortez for the response of City staff and the Lebanon Police Department to rectify several safety issues on her street;
♦ Heard a report from the Lebanon Downtown Association Manager Cassie Cruze about the successful completion of downtown trick-or-treating and the Art & Wine Walk.