Use room tax to fund essential services

John Huismann

This is a strange world, both locally and nationally. The purpose of this column is to call your attention to the insanity, provoke you and perhaps suggest possible alternative solutions.

So, we should approve a 40 percent increase in our water bills over a four-year period?

Cannon Beach is a different sort of town. We have maybe 2,500 year-round residents and an additional 30,000-plus in the summertime. Now, where exactly does the problem come up? I’m willing to bet that it isn’t with supplying 2,500 people with water and sewer. The problem comes with providing the other 30,000 with essential services.

Here’s a novel idea, why not let the visitors pay the cost of providing those services to them? It could be accomplished by raising water rates for all hotels and vacation rental units. The alternative would be to simply add a sewer and water tax to all hotels and rental units. Does this make sense to you?

Hotels are going to immediately complain that their room taxes are already quite high, so let’s consider an alternative. Let’s stop spending room tax money on print advertising to get more people here. Use that money instead to fund essential services like sewer and water. We already have more visitors than this town can handle in the summer. Using social media to advertise instead will bring us more visitors than we need and the cost is far cheaper than print advertising.

Do yourself a favor and let your representatives know where you stand. It is the only way to prevent a raise in your already high water bills.

On a totally different topic, I have to ask why we don’t compensate our city representatives. They give a lot of their time on a monthly basis trying to do their best to serve us. It’s not just the meetings they attend, but all of the time that they spend listening to us and preparing for meetings. What is reasonable compensation? I’m not sure yet. What do you think?

Please feel free to respond to what you read here. I can’t promise a personal reply, but I will use your thoughts to contribute to our discourse here.

John Huismann has lived in Cannon Beach for more than 10 years. He’s “almost a native” as he first moved to Portland in 1976. His experience includes years of sales, marketing and management of sales forces. Now retired, he wants to encourage discourse on a variety of subjects His email is


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