Was Woodstock's bed tax a good idea, or was it really just a grab for money?
Woodstock implemented a hotel/motel tax in 2005. Why they even called it a "hotel/motel" tax is beyond me, since Woodstock doesn't have anything close to a hotel.
It is supposed to be distributed to "organizations to host and promote activities and events" in Woodstock. So, look at the list of recipients. See this week's Page 1 article in The Woodstock Independent (Nov. 30-Dec. 6). And then decide if it's really being used that way.
Is Woodstock a overnight destination for events and activities? How many of the huge crowd at this year's tree-lighting stayed the night in Woodstock? How many from the Groundhog Day activities? I mean, after all, look at the choices. Super 8, Lion's Inn (originally the Holiday Inn Express), Days Inn. These are the properties to kick in the tax collected from their renters. Oh, yes; and Bob's Motel, but no visitors to Woodstock events stay there.
Don't forget the B&Bs: Alexandria House, the Bundling Board and the Royal Victorian Manor (the "Groundhog Day movie" house). They are exempt from the tax, because they have five or fewer rooms.
The Woodstock Opera House collects the lion's share of the money every year. Not bad for a tax-supported entity, owned by the City of Woodstock. It gets $30,000/year off the top. Other organizations vie for what's left. If the City rakes in $60,000 this year, that leaves $30,000 for everyone else to fight over.
And some organizations cannot even get in the fight, thanks to a narrow-minded approach by the City Council. If you haven't been a recipient, you can't apply. Well, you can apply; your organization just won't be considered. How's that for fairness???
According to Mike Neumann's article in this week's The Woodstock Independent (Mike got Page 1), "Applicants who have not received funding in prior years are not considered unless money remains after existing recipients have been considered." So, if you haven't fed at the trough before, don't bother trying to sidle up. The Woodstock Town Players learned that the hard way earlier this year.