SWEETWATER COUNTY —Sweetwater County residents will get the chance to cast their vote on a 2 percent local lodging tax when they go to the polls in the November General Election.
If the tax increase is approved, it will be in addition to the state’s current 2 percent lodging tax.
“The Sweetwater County Lodging Tax is collected on the sales price paid by guests for sleeping accommodations in hotels, motels, campgrounds, and similar establishments in the county,” Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Executive Director Jenissa Meredith said. “If a resident does not stay in one of these establishments, they do not pay the lodging tax.”
This is not a new sales tax for Sweetwater County as it has been utilized for decades. It was originally implemented in 1991 and has appeared on the ballot every four years since then. In fact, Sweetwater County had a lodging tax long before the state of Wyoming which passed a lodging tax in 2021. Now 2 percent of the Sweetwater County Lodging Tax is not paid through the statewide lodging tax and 2 percent will be left up to Sweetwater County voters to decide.
“Tourism is big business in Sweetwater County and total traveler spending in 2021 totaled over $160 million,” Meredith said. “The marketing efforts executed by the Sweetwater County Lodging Tax board alone provided a return on investment to the local economy of over $102 million. That is $102 million that went into the cash registers of Sweetwater County businesses that would not have been realized without the Sweetwater County Lodging Tax.”
State law requires the Sweetwater County lodging tax be used for marketing and promotional efforts to generate more visitor spending.
Where The Money Is Spend
- 30 plus local events ( Wyoming’s Big Show, Flaming Gorge Days, Blues and Brews, Red Desert Roundup Rodeo; Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo, the River Festival, the Thoman Invitational, the Flaming Gorge Classic, the December Dunk, the GR Grappler Wrestling Tournaments, the RS Avenger Soccer Tournaments, BMX events, Baseball Tournaments, Hockey Tournaments and many more)
- Marketing that generates over $102 million in traveler spending in Sweetwater County
- Marketing and event recruitment at the Sweetwater Events Complex
- Visitor services at the Rock Springs and Green River Chambers of Commerce
- Flaming Gorge tours, promotional efforts and product development
- Trail development
- Hospitality industry support and recognition
Meredith understands that many residents are against more taxes, but believes the lodging tax will pass because it doesn’t apply to the local population. Historically, the tax has passed with around 80 percent of Sweetwater County residents voting in favor of it and it has never failed to pass for more than 30 years.
“Sweetwater County residents do not pay the Sweetwater County Lodging Tax unless they stay in a hotel or campground in the county,” Meredith said. “Without the Sweetwater County Lodging Tax, over 30 local events would be at risk and many may be canceled due to lack of funding.”
For those who would like more information on the tax and Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism, click here.