The Gering City Council gave first reading approval Monday night of a 4% occupation tax on lodging in the community, but support wasn’t unanimous.
Councilmembers voted 5 to 1 in favor of the measure, with Ben Backus alone in dissent.
Backus said while he understood the goal of the tax, and that lodging representatives were relatively indifferent about it, his vote against the measure was more reflective of his personal stance against any additional taxes at this time.
He said at least the city would earmark the revenue for projects and events intended to bring more visitors to the community, instead of putting the money into the city’s general fund.
Mayor Tony Kaufman said such a tax has pretty much become a regular part of travel accommodations, no matter where a person goes, and nearly every nearby community has added a lodging tax to their revenue streams.
Kaufman says he believes the tax, estimated to bring in $40,000 to $50,000 a year, could be in place by July 1.