Town Hall News

Town Hall News

At the March 20th Town Board meeting, Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi scheduled a public hearing for 6pm on April 17th to review a proposed 2% occupancy tax on rooms rented for less than 30 days. The full text of the proposal can be found on pages 5-15 by clicking this link.

Given the intense debate over the last six months about regulating short-term rentals often associated with Airbnb and VRBO, one might have expected the tax to be clearly aimed at visitors who stay for a few days in the homes of Putnam Valley residents. However, at first glance the language in the proposal seems almost entirely focused on hotels and motels, of which Putnam Valley currently has none.

The heading on the proposed amendment is "Taxation of Hotel Room Occupancy" and the portion of the resolution labeled "Imposition of tax" states that "On and after the effective date of this article, there is hereby imposed and there shall be paid a tax of 2% upon the rent for every occupancy of a room or rooms in a hotel or motel in this Town..."

Upon a closer reading, however, it's clear that the proposed new tax is also aimed at the growing Airbnb phenomenon. A hotel or motel is defined in the text as including places commonly known as "tourist" facilities. And tourist facilities, in turn, are defined as: "Building, structure or other facility, which may ordinarily or originally be occupied for residential dwelling purposes, that contains or comprises a transient lodging rentable unit, including, but not limited to, "short term" or "vacation rental", or a location that is otherwise made available for transient lodging accommodation for rent directly by the owner or through an agent, operator or hosting company."

As a reminder, in November, the town passed a law regulating short-term rentals with a three-month grace period for homeowners to apply for a newly developed special use permit. When she was asked when those regulations will actually kick in, Supervisor Annabi responded as follows: "The application are taking a bit longer than expected as we want to ensure the applications are simple yet thorough with ease of streamlining the process for those who are in full compliance. Once that occurs, we will announce applications are open, and we hope that those residents who are using short term rental comply. Those who do not and are short term rentals will be violated immediately."

In other news, two candidates have decided to run for the position of Town Clerk in the November election. (The position became open again in January after the passing of newly-elected Kimberly McKeown.) Regina Gelfer, who owns a graphics business in Roaring Brook Lake, is running on the Democratic ticket. The Republican candidate is Michelle Stephens, a clerk in the town's Building Department.

Finally, the town has firewood (unsplit) that it is offering free to residents! If you're interested, contact Highway Superintendent Shawn Keeler at

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