A Neptune proposal to raise as much as $300,000 a year by instituting a hospitality tax on hotel, motel, bed and breakfast and similar short-term rentals will apparently be put on hold.
The Township Committee has been considering adopting an ordinance creating the hospitality tax but questions about how to control and monitor it remain. The subject was discussed at this week’s workshop session.
“I would like to see all of this in writing,” Committeeman Michael Brantley said.
A guest now pays the 6.625 percent state sales tax and a six percent state occupancy fee for a room. State law allows a municipality to collect half, or three percent of that occupancy tax, if it imposes the hotel or hospitality tax. Money raised from the tax would be placed in the township’s annual budget to help offset taxes.
“You will have to prepare an inventory (of units) and then enforce it,” Township Attorney Gene Anthony said.
Committeeman Nick Williams said he wants more time to study the proposal, wants to know how it would be enforced, and how inspections would be made and approved.
“We have no logistics in place (to manage this) and we will need more employees. I want to know where we are going on this,” he said.
Anthony said inspection and enforcement would be covered under a separate ordinance than the one imposing the hospitality tax.
Mayor Carol Rizzo said that the tax money is already being collected by the state and that adopting the ordinance will allow this money to begin flowing through to the township.
Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta said that the township is looking at staff and costs associated with the proposal.
Anthony said laws regulating the taxing of rental united was recently changed regarding Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnbs and other short-term rental units. Now, rentals advertised through space marketplace promotional sites are taxed as are rentals in a building where the owner professionally manages three or more rental units a year. Buildings renting less than three units a year or if the building is not run through an agency but privately operated are tax exempt.
Township officials said the number of potentially taxed units in Ocean Grove, other than major hotels, has risen from 115 to 220 recently- both legal and illegal units.