Do I, as a citizen of Stillwater, have to pay this tax?
The Stillwater visitor tax is ONLY paid by a person staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast, or short-term rental within Stillwater.
What is a visitor tax?
It is a tax that is charged to a person for each day they stay in a hotel, bed and breakfast, or short-term rental. (Previously called a “hotel tax”.)
How does this impact me as a resident of Stillwater?
The additional 3% visitor tax revenue will provide further visitor development and quality of life amenities - such as athletics facilities, expanded cultural districts, and attractions - so local property taxpayers are not burdened with the costs.
What is Stillwater’s current visitor tax rate?
In 1985, Visit Stillwater was created as a result of a 4% visitor/lodging tax that was passed by a vote of the citizens of Stillwater. Approval of the 3% increase will be the only proposed increase in 36+ years and change the visitor tax to 7%. For example, the total tax for a hotel room that costs $100 would increase by only $3. The total tax for a hotel room that costs $150 would increase by only $4.50. The total tax for a hotel room that costs $200 would increase by only $6.
What is the visitor tax rate in other Oklahoma communities?
Perry, Enid, and Ponca City to the north are all 8%. Sand Springs to the east is 7%. Cushing, Guthrie, and Edmond to the south and west are currently 4%. Guthrie will have a resolution on their April 5, 2022 ballot to increase their tax to 7% as well. When overflowing visitors go to these communities during Stillwater city-wide events, room rates not tax rates are considered when making lodging decisions.
How will the additional revenue be invested?
This additional revenue will keep local property taxpayers from being burdened with the cost of new visitor development and quality of life amenities - such as athletics facilities, expanded cultural districts, and attractions. With the recent announcement of a convention center development, convention sales and services will be included in efforts to substantially increase business. An increase will also enhance the number of visitor development incentive grants and sponsorships available.
Why do we need to add 3% to the current visitor tax rate?
Over the past 36+ years, visitor development efforts have dramatically increased, as well as the cost to market, sell, and provide services that contribute to the visitor economy. An increase will enable us to enhance our current efforts, expand our visitor development markets, and enable us to host more sporting, convention, and special events in our community.
Will a 3% increase impact Stillwater sales tax collections?
Yes! In the best possible way. More visitor tax equates to more sales tax through overnight stays, dining, shopping, tanks of gas, and event attendance. These combined visitor expenditures improve our quality of life through City of Stillwater essential services and infrastructure.
Why is visitor development important?
Visitor development creates jobs, generates business for local hotels, restaurants, attractions, retailers, and service providers, and increases our sales tax revenue through visitor purchases. Also, hotels are among the largest users of city utility services; therefore, an increase in overnight stays will generate more utility revenue for the City of Stillwater to further enhance our quality of life.
How long before the enhancements and improvements will begin?
After the election is held on February 8, 2022, and if the proposition passes, the increase from 4% to 7% will become effective on July 1, 2022. Once the revenue is collected, the marketing and sales enhancements and visitor development amenities can begin.
How much will the 3% increase in visitor tax yield annually?
The tax will generate approximately an additional $600,000 the first year. The total visitor tax will generate approximately $1.3M in the first year. 30%, or an estimated $400,000, will be invested in visitor development amenities and 70%, or an estimated $920,000, will be invested in a comprehensive marketing and sales plan for the community and over 200 businesses and 2,000 events a year.