The Tax Man Cometh

Good for Rye Brook! Like other villages in Westchester, it’s struggling financially, but, unlike the others, this one has found a way to ease its pain. Rye Brook is about to become be the first village in not just the county, but in the state, to levy a hotel occupancy tax that is predicted to net about $400,000 a year from guests at two hotel and conference centers.

Rye Brook Mayor Joan L. Feinstein said village officials worked for five years on the home-rule measure, which twice before foundered in Albany, but came back to life in August. It will authorize a levy of up to 3 percent on 800 hotel and motel guest rooms at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel Conference Center and the Hilton Rye. Hotels in White Plains, New Rochelle, and Rye have already adopted a similar 3-percent hotel levy. “Rye Brook’s elected officials have always looked at ways to generate alternative sources of revenue in an effort to reduce the reliance on the property tax,” Mayor Feinstein says.

Says State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, “Difficult times demand creative solutions.” We know that’s a take-off on the saying, “drastic times call for drastic measures,” but we’ll accept Oppenheimer’s watered-down version, although the word “drastic” could have applied. This recession is certainly looking more and more scary every day.

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