Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

A ballot title intended for the November general election asking voters to support an increase in the county’s transient lodging tax was withdrawn in a special session of the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners Sept. 5.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Todd Nash said the issue will likely come up again.

“At 6.8 percent this is lower than most places like this around the state. We are partly a tourism based economy. We need to capture some of that through lodging,” Nash said.

The ballot measure intended to ask voters in unincorporated Wallowa County to vote whether or not to increase the transient lodging tax to 3 percent. The potential annual income, estimated at less than $100,000 a year, was to support the sheriff’s office and the operation of the Wallowa County Fairgrounds.

A petition filed by David Hurley, owner of Eagle’s View Inn and Suites in Enterprise and Eagle Cap Chalets at Wallowa Lake, asked the Wallowa County district court to review the ballot title, claiming it didn’t properly represent the measure.

The petition, filed Aug. 17, said the ballot title, “Shall Wallowa County Transient Lodging Tax be increased to 3 percent in unincorporated areas to benefit the Sheriff’s Department and Fairgrounds operation?” is inaccurate.

The petition said, “The Commissioners — whether intentionally or unintentionally – have used words in the Ballot Title describing the Measure that obfuscate and confuse the subject, chief purpose, summary and major effect of the proposed tax increase.”

See more in Friday's edition of The Observer.