Marin County Board of Supervisors to Place Marin TOT Tax on November Ballot

August 1, 2018 Last Updated: August 11, 2018

The Marin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved placing on the November ballot a 4 percent increase in the transient occupancy tax (TOT) at rental lodgings in west Marin County.

The TOT is currently 10 percent in Marin County. It will be 14 percent in the west county if two-thirds of voters in the west county approve it. The proposed ordinance establishes a West Marin Transient Occupancy Tax area. The 14 percent TOT tax will apply to guests at hotels, short-term rentals, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds in the west Marin Transient Occupancy Tax area.

About 75 percent of the 10 percent TOT revenue in the county is from west Marin, and the number of visitors to west Marin County requires more fire and rescue services to accommodate them, county officials said.

Conversion of single-family dwellings to short-term rentals for visitors is reducing available long-term housing in the west county, county officials said. More visitor impacts arise in the west county than in the rest of the unincorporated parts of the county.

Half of the West Marin Transient Occupancy Tax revenue will be allocated for fire and emergency services, and half will be allocated for community and workforce housing, and seniors and people with disabilities in the west Marin tax area, according to county officials.

The revenue allocations will be subject to the Board of Supervisors’ approval, and the Marin County tax collector will administer the tax revenue collection. The West Marin Transient Occupancy Tax is currently raising an estimated $1.3 million annually.

Administrative expenses shall not exceed 5 percent in any year. Most people who spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday favored the proposed 4 percent west Marin TOT hike and the money it will provide to first responders, but several people read a letter on behalf of nine west Marin lodging establishments who opposed it.

They said the proposed increase is misguided and discriminating, will be challenged in court and will turn homes into unregulated hotels.

Opponents said visitors will have no say in the tax hike, and the TOT should be the same countywide. “Treat the county as a whole county. And if you want affordable housing, zone for it,” one woman said.