County to make official decision next month on fate of short-term rental fees
Short-term rentals were back on the agenda for Grand County commissioners Tuesday afternoon during a workshop on rules, regulations and fee structures for the contentious housing accommodations.
The workshop featured no formal action from the commissioners, but served as a prelude to an upcoming public hearing, scheduled for June 26, when the commissioners are expecting to make any official decisions regarding the future of the county’s short-term rental program. Tuesday’s workshop included a presentation by Grand County Manager Lee Staab that largely focused on potential future fee structures and the costs incurred by the county from short-term rentals.
Staab outlined three potential future fee structures that have been presented to the commissioners for consideration and potential adoption next month. The permit fee for short-term rentals in unincorporated Grand County was set at $20 until it was increased to $150 in May 2017.
According to data provided by Staab, the county spends approximately $431,000 per year to administer the short-term rental program. That figure is based on $218,669 in direct costs, consisting of personnel costs, software costs and office costs. It also includes a determined $212,500 in impact costs.
The county determined that each short-term rental costs the county approximately $250 per year in impacts costs, related to impacts on infrastructure and other county services such as calls for response from the sheriff’s office. Under the current permit fee structure, the county estimates an annual budget shortfall of $318,500 based on total direct and impact costs.
The commissioners said the consideration of new fee structures that would increase the total fees assessed on short-term rental property applicants was not meant to disincentivize the creation of new short-term rentals and was meant to help make the program revenue neutral.
One fee structure includes potentially raising the flat fee assessed on permittees to $600. Another proposed fee structure includes maintaining the current $150 permit fee while also assessing a $50 pillow count, or occupant fee, wherein a short-term rental would pay a one time annual fee of $50 per occupant space advertised for the property.
The third potential fee structure outlined in the presentation was a tiered pillow count fee. According to the presentation under the tiered structure the annual permit fee would decline to $100 and properties would then pay a set additional fee based on the number of occupants a given short-term rental can accommodate. The tiered fee structure included eight different fee tiers ranging from properties accommodating two to four occupants at an additional $200 on the low end, to properties accommodating 36 occupants and above at an additional fee of $2,000 on the high end.
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Diane Howell, 77, only leaves her house right now for errands and essentials. As part of the age group considered most vulnerable to COVID-19, she’s felt isolated as she avoids most social interactions.