The Bangor Village Board passed a resolution of support for La Crosse County’s proposed Premier Area Resort Tax at a meeting last week.
In a 6-1 vote, the board approved the resolution with Village President Gary Althoff casting the only vote of opposition.
The tax, which received strong support in a county-wide advisory referendum in April, would add half-a-percent to the sales tax for tourism-related businesses.
However, because the county does not meet the state requirements for a resort tax, it must first receive approval from the legislature.
To be eligible for the tax, at least 40 percent of a municipality’s equalized property value must be tourism related businesses. La Crosse county falls far short of that with 5 percent of equalized property value related to tourism.
If approved, the tax could raise more than $6.5 million a year, of which the county plans to use $5 million for road and infrastructure projects. Municipalities would receive a portion of the tax revenues based on street mileage. For Bangor, this would mean roughly $17,000 in additional funding for village streets.
“I know that the need is there; I won’t argue that,” Althoff said. “I didn’t like the idea of putting a tax on 5 percent of the businesses in the county.”
He said he felt the state should be doing more to address deteriorating road conditions across Wisconsin.
Board member John McCue, who spoke in support of the resolution, said anything that gets the legislature’s attention is worth considering.
“I want to help Madison make up its mind to deal with this horrible transpiration situation we’ve got,” he said. “I don’t think Madison is going to do it without a little prodding.”
McCue doubted the tax would be approved, but hoped the resolution would send a message to the legislature that communities like Bangor are grasping for straws.
“We better do something about this,” he said.