LAKE COMO– Borough council introduced a municipal occupancy ordinance, 2022-98, for a three percent tax on transient rentals such as hotels and Airbnb’s.
“The proposed municipal occupancy ordinance has been discussed and passed around for the past couple of years, with the growth of transient rentals, Airbnb’s and places that we rent during the summer and the weekends,” said Mayor Kevin Higgins.
Borough Attorney Peg Shaffer said, “There is a statute that permits us to do that, we can charge three percent of the rental for hotel and transient accommodations.”
Ms. Shaffer then explained that, “The catch is that if they [the accommodations] are broker arranged, we can’t. So there is a specific exemption in the statute that would exclude it from transient accommodations, any accommodation negotiated by a broker.”
A broker was defined by Borough Attorney Shaffer as a licensed real estate program.
“The money goes to the state treasurer, and then the treasurer admits it to us [the borough].”
Borough Attorney Shaffer specifically reiterated that the owner cannot absorb the tax, the renter must pay the tax.
“It is a violation of the ordinance and a violation of the state law, if the owner absorbs it.”
Mayor Higgins also pointed out that a transient accommodation is property that is rented in a term that is less than 90 consecutive days, which would omit any summer rentals.
This was the first reading of this municipal occupancy ordinance, and is scheduled for a second reading and passing at the next mayor and council meeting Tuesday, May 17.
POLICE UNITY TOUR
The borough council voted and passed a resolution supporting Lake Como national police week and the police department Unity Tour to Washington D.C. at the mayor council meeting on Tuesday May 3. To bring awareness to this week, the Belmar police department will be doing their annual bike tour, from New Jersey to Washington D.C May 9 to 12.
“The journey is long and challenging, but for the police unity participants it is what they prepare for throughout the year. Through fundraising and physical training they know that their efforts raise awareness of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many law enforcement officers,” said Mayor Higgins.
LAKE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Mayor Kevin Higgins announced that they will be reviewing the new plans for the Lake improvement project, which is quickly moving forward.
“We get a lot of questions from residents from the improvements that are happening on the Spring Lake side of the lake, and will that transfer over to the Lake Como side? The answer to that is yes, Spring Lake started the project one year ahead of Lake Como so they are progressing further than we are, but we are still on track.”
DEVELOPMENT PROJECT ON MAIN STREET
Mayor Higgins said that the borough will be picking back up on the development project for Main Street and a new municipal building.
“Since things have changed before COVID, and with some snags along the way, our development project for main street and a new municipal building has slowed down. But we will be having a meeting on that, and picking it back up next week, so we should see some strides in that.”
SUMMER STREET SIGNS
Summer street signs will be placed up May 15 announced Mayor Higgins.
“Summer streets are coming up on May 15, so we will be adding our summer one ways and stop signs that we normally have for this time of the year.”
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES
Mayor Kevin Higgins publicized at the mayor and council meeting on Tuesday, May 30 that there will be a memorial service for Memorial Day at 10 a.m.
“I will give everyone an invite to our Memorial Day service, which will be the last Monday in May. Please join us on that day at the Monument at Lake Como,” said Mayor Higgins.