To the Editor:

Dear Vinton residents,

I am asking you to vote NO for the hotel/motel tax on Tuesday November 7.

After I retired in 2011 I stayed at the Cobblestone Inn in Vinton every other week for several months working as a contractor. Though I was able to negotiate a favorable rate with the motel and received a per diem for my expenses, I was responsible for all housing costs. Any increased taxes would have been an additional burden on me and a reduction of income.

While staying in Vinton for so many nights I have some insights on who stays in your local motels that leads me to believe that Vinton Unlimited is at best withholding considerations from you, or at worst misleading you. The VU director would like you to think that this tax does not directly affect the people of Vinton. I disagree.

Most of the people staying at the motels are not there spending discretionary vacation dollars. Besides the boon during the Benton County Fair and Boomtown activities which are the dollars you’re after, the majority of income would come from people whose budgets matter and they may be people important to you.

Many are workers for vendors who come to Vinton to conduct business. Maybe their expenses are reimbursed, maybe not. After the 2011 winds blew the town apart I ran into former members of my church staying there for a few days. Ask yourself if any community members stayed in a local motel after your recent tornado extensively damaged an apartment house. What about the 2008 flood? What about battered women and children escaping an abusive husband? Does your greed extend to their dollars? Didn’t Vinton do pretty well with FEMA dollars as far as park and green spaces go after the flood?

Lastly let’s consider your family and friends who come to Vinton for one of two reasons. A wedding or a funeral. Why stick them with additional expenses? Maybe you’d rather they stay with you instead of being gouged by the locals.

Dave Schussler

Pine City, Minnesota