Town of Bracebridge councillors will take another look at instituting a Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) during tomorrow’s general committee meeting.
They also plan to address the ongoing issue of short-term accommodation licensing.
During the meeting, the committee considered whether to hire a consultant to complete community and industry stakeholder consultation. Once those results are in, Town staff will be tasked with creating a draft municipal accommodation tax by law and a proposed implementation plan.
A MAT tax is imposed on visitors renting accommodations within a municipality. The rate typically ranges somewhere between 3 and 7% of the purchase price.
More than 20 municipalities in Ontario have instituted a MAT tax, including the towns of Huntsville and Gravenhurst. In Huntsville and Gravenhurst, the tax rate has been set at 4%. Of the money collected, a minimum of 50% goes back into areas like promotion and tourism while the Town retains the remaining funds.
The hot-button issue of Short-Term Accommodation Rentals (STRAs) will also be back before the committee tomorrow.
Staff are recommending that councillors approve a new short-term rental accommodation licensing bylaw.
Town staff estimate that there are currently some 350 active or intermittent STRAs currently operating in Bracebridge. The draft bylaw would allow for no more than 4% of total private dwellings in town to be used for STRAs, which translates to roughly the number operating currently.
Under the new system, there are criteria for the suspension and revocation of licenses.
To properly implement the system, staff say they’ll need to hire another full-time employee so someone can be available 24/7 to respond to complaints. Staff will also be asking for monitoring software to be considered under the 2024 draft budget.
Staff are also recommending that an increase in licensing fees be implemented from $250 to $1,500.
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