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City considers short-term rental ordinance

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

City considers short-term rental ordinance
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City considers short-term rental ordinance

By GORDON JACKSON Oct 26, 2021

Brunswick short-term rentals may soon be required to register with the city and pay a bed tax like those in the county.

The city finance committee was told at Monday’s meeting that the city ordinance would mirror one approved by Glynn County officials earlier this year.

The county hired an independent company to monitor ads to rent homes in the county, and those property owners are required to pay a tax and ensure certain requirements are met such as fire extinguishers and the guest know the limits on the number of occupants, noise and vehicles. Those who didn’t register with the county have been send letters notifying them they have 30 days before they are cited.

City Manager Regina McDuffie said two readings will be required before the city can adopt the ordinance similar to the county’s.

“It’s pretty much been vetted in the rental community,” she said.

Commissioner Vincent Williams expressed concerns about the impact vacation rental homes would have on property values.

City attorney Brian Corry said the city cannot restrict the location or the number of vacation rentals in Brunswick. But he pointed out there are few rental units in city limits and the ordinance gives the city the ability to collect accommodation taxes. After the county’s ordinance went into effect, in July, it generated an additional $300,000 a month in tax revenue.

In other business, the finance committee:

  • Plans to recommend the city renew its trash collection agreement with Republic Services. McDuffie said only two companies bid for the city contract, with Republic offering the best bid. Recycling services will be by contract, meaning individual households will have to opt in to recycling and pay an additional fee for the service. McDuffie said the company wants at least 1,500 recycling subscribers to offer the service. She said the city will encourage residents to opt in to the service. Bulk pickup will be offered once a month and yard waste will continue to be picked up once a week.

  • Awarded a $15,000 grant to the owner of Lady K’s Kitchen to help with payroll. The grant is part of the federal loan program to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. It was the first loan recommended by the finance committee. McDuffie will have final approval authority on the loan and grant applications.

  • Approved an enterprise zone application recommendation for Port City Lofts. The business occupies the Loitis building in downtown Brunswick and includes two restaurants and an office to manage the residential units on the second floor. Brad Piazza, the building’s owner, said 25 new jobs are being created. The enterprise zone approval will allow the city to waive permitting and inspection fees, as well as give an incremental tax break that ends after 10 years. In all, it will save the business $117,000, city officials said.

  • Approved improvements to city squares and sidewalks that are possible thanks to Glynn County Commissioner Walter Rafolski. He designated $250,000 of the $1 million in discretionary funding each commissioner was given earlier this year. McDuffie said the squares are tourist attractions and the improvements would cover a large area downtown.

  • Set a base value for the city’s tax allocation district as the year 2020. It’s designed to enable businesses to take advantage of the tax breaks created to help improve transportation, infrastructure and public places and foster redevelopment.

McDuffie said a presentation will be made to the full city commission because developers are interested.

“It is crucial we move this forward,” she said.

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