Dewey Beach Considering Increasing Accommodations Tax - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dewey Beach Considering Increasing Accommodations Tax

Posted: May 08, 2018 6:14 PM Updated:

DEWEY BEACH, Del.- Dewey Beach may be the next coastal town to increase its accommodations tax.

The town commissioners are considering upping the tax on rentals like vacation houses in order to fund improvements to the bay communities. The town’s tax is currently three percent.

“If the people of Dewey Beach would consider going to a four or five percent increase and helping us develop a way to make this a bay beach tax, wouldn't it be wonderful to protect those bay beaches better,” says Mayor T.J. Redefer.

Redefer says flooding and rising water levels are areas of concern there he says the tax could help address. Redefer says the exact amount of the proposed tax has yet to be determined, but it won’t be the six percent that neighboring Rehoboth approved last year.

“Something interesting about Dewey Beach is we were founded in 1981 on one simple thing: no taxes,” Redefer explains. “So we run our little town as leanly as we can.”

If the town moves forward with the idea, it will have to go to referendum in September. Redefer says he plans to have many public conversations ahead of that to see if it has enough public support to continue. Some realtors like Sharon Palmer-Stauffer says the increase could push away tourists.

“When they come here for 30-40 years, you know how much they love being here. But we have to take care of them,” she says. “It’s a fickle business. They can take their money elsewhere.”

Stauffer says keeping Dewey’s tax rate lower that surrounding towns could pay off in attracting new visitors.

"I think it would be beneficial to Dewey to be able to tout that sign: our accommodations tax is a little lower in Dewey," she says.

The town commissioners are set to discuss the potential increase at their meeting on Saturday. 

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