Letter to the Editor:
From Ardys Schimmel
It seems “facts” about short-term rental owners need clarification. Owners say their short-term rentals and vacation rental dwellings contribute large amounts of dollars to our Lincoln County economy. Tourist dollars from Short-Term Rentals (STRs) and Vacation Rental Dwellings (VRDs) in unincorporated Lincoln County may benefit grocery and outlet stores. But most vacationers arrive with coolers, boxes and bags of food along with numerous children. They eat at the house, walk neighborhoods, and stroll along the beaches. They seldom go to bars, restaurants or tourist shops.
Short-term rental owners say they contribute $11.7 million a year in taxes. However the county’s 2020 budget shows $1.2 million from room taxes. Total taxes expected from all county homes is $24 million. It is impossible that 566 rental houses contribute half of the entire county’s tax revenue.
Owners also claim that short-term rentals contribute to county employment totaling $192 million annually for 3,600 employed residents. 3,600 for 566 houses? That would give a median annual wage of $53,000 to each employee! Housekeepers average $15 per hour or $30,000 per year and report having no benefits. Consider this fact: Short-term rental owners don’t live here. It’s reported that 94 percent of short-term rental owners live out of the area and out of state. The result is that profits leave the county.
Local voluntarism, charity dollars and contributions do not come from short-term rental owners or their renters. Instead, local residents provide those revenues. What’s more, short-term rentals lower our local Census numbers, which lessens state and federal dollars coming to our county. Short-term rental owners say they support local maintenance, repair and commercial industries. Those houses would require the same attention but are not tax deductible.
Short-term rental owners claim they and their renters comply with regulations. But owners frequently are not present to witness or manage renters behaviors like noise, garbage, illegal fireworks, illegal parking, trespassing, peeping into windows, speeding cars on single lane unincorporated residential areas, stolen firewood, dog poop and more.
County law enforcement is through the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. But enforcement seems to be left to permanent residential neighbors to call 9-1-1 to report violations. Sheriff Department citations are limited to criminal/civil laws needing to be witnessed with no mechanism for “writing” a ticket when identified. VRD/STR owners regularly say there are no problems. Meanwhile, complaint reporting and enforcement to the Sheriff’s Department is simply not sufficient to provide patrols for all 566 homes from Yachats to Lincoln City.
Where could vacationers go? They could go to hotels, motels, resorts, or tourist housing areas equipped with appropriate emergency preparedness and onsite supervision.
Residents of Lincoln County: Do you want a voice in this matter? Go to http://www.15neighborhoods.com
— Ardys Schimmel, Gleneden Beach
The views and opinions of the above writer do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the staff or owners of NewsLincolnCounty.com. The above views and opinions are strictly those of the author.