WESTCHESTER, N.Y. -- State lawmakers passed legislation last week that will allows 15 new municipalities in Westchester County to begin collecting occupancy taxes of up to 3 percent on hotel and motel bills.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti and Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins secured the new tax for the town of Greenburgh and villages of Tarrytown, Elmsford, Sleepy Hollow, Ardsley, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry and Hastings-on-Hudson. Most municipalities are expected to begin collecting the occupancy tax, also called a "bed tax," on Jan. 1, 2016.
“This will ease the burden on local property tax payers by imposing a user fee on out-of-towners who benefit from using public services provided by our towns and villages,” said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, a Democrat who represents the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant.
“With passage of this bill, once signed into law by the governor, Greenburgh will be able to tap into this revenue-raising alternative to local property taxes,” said Sen.Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Yonkers. “The town joins White Plains, New Rochelle, and Rye in collecting a small percentage of the sum hotel visitors pay to stay, adding up to several hundreds of thousands of dollars within a year.”
The towns of Harrison and North Castle secured a new hotel/motel occupancy tax through legislation sponsored by Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat from White Plains, and Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat.
Assemblyman Steve Otis, a Rye Democrat, and Latimer sponsored legislation that allows a motel/hotel tax to be collected in Mamaroneck, Port Chester and New Rochelle. That bill also extends the taxing authority for the City of Rye and Village of Rye Brook.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Democrat from Scarsdale, sponsored legislation that allows the motel/hotel tax to be collected in Tuckahoe and extended White Plains' bed tax.
And Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, a Democrat from Yonkers, sponsored the bill that permits motel/hotel occupancy tax to be collected in her hometown.
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner has been pushing for a hotel/motel tax authorization in his town since 2009.
"I was very disappointed previously that the state had granted over 40 counties and other localities in Westchester permission to have a hotel tax but not Greenburgh,'' Feiner said. "It was unfair. The concept of a hotel tax is either good or bad and the authorization to have the tax should apply to everyone or no one."
The town of Greenburgh estimates that the occupancy tax will generate $200,000 to $500,000 annually from about 2,000 hotel and motel rooms -- new revenue that will help the town comply with the state's 2 percent property tax cap and address infrastructure needs.
White Plains collects about $1 million a year in hotel taxes. New Rochelle projects $280,000 from the hotel tax. Rye expects to collect $150,000. Rye Brook, which has two marquee hotels in the Hilton Westchester and Doral Arrowwood, collects about $630,000 in annual occupancy taxes. Westchester County expects $5.5 million, $300,000 more than last year, to be collected from its own previously-approved hotel tax.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.