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Council to consider raising tourism tax, funding downtown security pilot program
hotel room
It could soon be more expensive to stay in a Turlock hotel room, as the City Council will consider increasing the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax (or hotel tax) from 9% to 14% (Photo contributed).

The cost of booking a hotel room in Turlock could increase by 5% in 2025, if a proposed tourism tax increase is approved by the City Council on Tuesday and voters on the 2024 ballot.

The Turlock City Council is scheduled to consider starting the process to amend the Transient Occupancy Tax rate, increasing it from 9% to 14%, and putting the amendment on the November 2024 ballot.

The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is a tax on short-term rental accommodation for each city. The tax was originally designed to compensate local government for the increased public service costs incurred by serving local tourists. This tax is only collected on stays that are 30 consecutive calendar days or fewer.

TOT is currently part of the City’s general fund revenues.  Currently, the City’s TOT revenues are allocated as follows: Fund 110 General Fund (66.67%), Fund 120 Tourism (20%) and Fund 205 Sports Facilities (13.33%).

The General Fund revenues are utilized to assist with the impacts to public services (police, fire, recreation, etc.).  The Tourism Fund uses its revenues to promote and support community special events.  Whereas, the Sports Facilities Fund helps support operations for Pedretti Park and Regional Sports Complex.

The General Fund is projected to increase $740,510.48 and a total for all funds of $1,110,710.18 by raising the rate to 14%. According to the staff report on the Council agenda item, the new  funds could assist with public safety, recreation, roads, and any other services the city provides. 

Since this revenue is a tax, a ballot measure is required to amend the rate from 9% to 14%.  Staff is requesting authorization from the Council to begin the process of developing the ballot measure and retaining a consultant for services needed to prepare for the November 2024 election.

Also on Tuesday, the Council is expected to:

·  -       Accept a comprehensive compensation study from Sloan Sakai Yeung & Wong LLP. On April 11, 2023, the City Council provided approval to Sloan Sakai to conduct a comprehensive Compensation and Classification Study at the request of the City. The consultants completed it in October 2023. The consultants surveyed 10 agencies based on instruction from City staff and included 34 classifications. After determining the survey agencies and comparable classes, the consultants determined the most useful data and provided a written report providing the City with data summaries and findings;

·  -       Consider appropriating $20,650 from Fund 120 Tourism for the Downtown Turlock Security Enhancement Pilot Program. The pilot program will fund the first-year costs for up to 59 businesses within the downtown district to participate in the Fusus video surveillance program. Downtown businesses interested in participating in the pilot program will be assisted by Turlock Police Department to facilitate the onboarding process with Fusus. Participating businesses will be required to provide a general release of liability in favor of the City for use of the Fusus service.  Upon conclusion of the first year, if the participating business wishes to continue the Fusus service, the participating business will be responsible for the annual subscription cost, to be paid to Fusus; and

·    -     Consider submitting an application for MORE Grant Funds (Manufactured Housing Opportunity & Revitalization Program) from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development in the amount of approximately $3.5 Million. If granted, the City of Turlock could use the funds to make repairs on residents’ mobile homes to correct health and safety deficiencies, make accessibility upgrades and energy efficiency upgrades.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. A complete Council agenda and packet for Tuesday’s meeting can be found at: