I’m sharing this with the community because more people need to know what’s going on and hopefully will get involved.
Dear College Station City Council:
First, Let me say thank you for all the time you’ve given our community. I don’t think the issue about taxing the short-term vacationion rentals isn’t as cut and dry as Bryan would have you believe. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my argument against Brian’s proposal.
The city manager’s assistant, Brian Piscacek, would have you believe that a home which is being leased to guests on occasion or used as a vacation rental is basically the same as a hotel. Don’t believe it. It’s not the same. It does not have hundreds of people like a hotel. A wedding venue has a large group of people for gatherings. But that’s not what this is either. A home has a few people at a time who come to visit and sleep over for a night or two. Typically a family. A hotel is something completely and totally different. A home should not be treated like a hotel or have an occupancy tax like a hotel. Especially not if the guest shares the same spaces like the kitchen as the homeowner or if the apartment is connected to the same roof as the one that the HOMEOWNER IS LIVING IN. Sometimes the homeowner rents out a single bedroom within their home and shares the living room and kitchen. Brian Piscacek is trying to convince the city council that homeowners have a responsibility to collect a hotel tax for short-term rentals just like a hotel with 100 beds and parking spaces and a swimming pool, an elevator and a cleaning staff and maintenance crew. It’s just not the same thing!
The College Station City Council MUST realize that it’s because of how high the Brazos County taxes are that many people feel compelled to lease out their private properties to help pay for personal taxes. Do you think homeowners do it because they want to compete with the hotels? Do you think they want to give up their privacy? Most do it because the taxes are overburdensome in Brazos County!
No matter what argument anyone tries to make, a short-term rental ordinance has absolutely NOTHING to do with safety of renters or the good of the community. Home owners don’t need the cities safety brochures when a guest is coming to stay! We’ve lived safely in our own homes all these years so why do we need your help now? This has everything to do with over reaching governmental restrictions, erroneous and unprovable assumptions, more money for the government, and the hotel industry trying to shut down vacation rentals like VRBO, Airbnb, and Homeaway! One can only speculate Who in the hotel industry thought the little vacation rentals were taking away from the hotel revenues in B/CS and made it a point to reach out to Mr. Piscacek and convince him to make this an issue with the College Station City Council when it clearly is NOT.
Homeowners have a right to do what they want with their own private properties. They shouldn’t have to ask for permission or pay another duty tax to an overreaching, overbearing group of people who sit around trying to justify their existence by trying to think up ways to leech money out of home owners. It’s not right.
My husband is probably going to retire in a few years. That’s about when our house will be paid for. But our taxes are over $16,300 a year! Without a mortgage we are still having to pay over $1,358 a month just for taxes and that doesn’t even include insurance! That’s like another mortgage payment after our house is paid for! So, for self-preservation, we have recently started a vacation rental in our garage apartment attached to our home to pay for the extraordinarily high Brazos County taxes. It’s my understanding that the College Station city council members may be duped or coerced into thinking that this new short term rental regulation is fair or the right thing to do, and I can assure you that it is most emphatically NOT.
If I lease out my property every day of the year, which is absolutely impossible because I’m not a hotel, I don’t advertise like a hotel, I’m not visible like a hotel, I’m not staffed with cleaning ladies like a hotel so I can’t get a whole house sanitized and ready like a hotel can get a single room ready in a few hours. I’m probably not going to make $16,000. to cover my taxes, but it may help a little. You on the other hand, …..the College Station City Council, will only hurt the community and me in particular again by imposing more regulations and fees for short-term rentals. Please oppose this.
People need to be encouraged to fend for themselves. Not discouraged or provided with disincentives like this new regulation. This suggestion of government overreach once again absolutely makes my blood boil and I am certainly not the only one in College Station who feels this way. Brian Piscacek and the City Council are right on track to tick a lot of people off. People who do short term rentals are quiet, law-abiding citizens, and they take beautiful care of our properties.
How are people supposed to retire? How are people supposed to support themselves when College Station City Council keeps imposing breathing fees? Please STOP IT. Just leave people alone. Our tax rate is absolutely ridiculous as it is.
Our poor customers through VRBO are already paying
1 Property damage protection coverage
2 Cleaning fees
3 Booking fee
4 Processing fee
5 Base commission
6. We’ll call number six the Brian Piscacek occupancy breathing tax. No one will mind. Everyone will understand exactly what it is and thank him for the opportunity to pay the city for breathing when they visit a short-term rental in College Station.
For your information, and this is important… I’ve had guests from Washington DC, Kenya, and all over the state of Texas visit this year. Initially all of my guests canceled because of the Covid 19 scare. But then, people decided to come to College Station because I could offer isolation amid the Covid 19 situation and still have a big beautiful private back yard to get out of the house and play in. I tell people how wonderful College Station is and it boosts tourism even in a turned down economy. They could come here to my place with self check-in and out, but they absolutely could NOT go to a public hotel. Mr. Piscacek is perfectly ok with the idea of imposing additional regulations, restrictions, taxes/fees, government interference, and what I feel is punishment for thinking outside the box, for bringing people to College Station even though the hotels practically slowed to a stop because of this unfortunate virus.
Following in the footsteps of the rental registration, Mr Piscacek speculates:
“You know perhaps, registering with annual renewals ensuring that we have proper local contact information providing educational materials and creating and ensuring a safe living environment for the guest that is coming to stay,” said Piscacek.
Rental owners feel that this program has been an epic failure in the city of College Station with the exception of emergency services. Everyone knows that the only owners who actually register their rental properties are the owners who live here. Not most of the absentee landlords who never even bother to respond to the letters that are sent to them. Again, this is an overreaching farce.
We don’t need educational materials ensuring a safe living environment for us or our guests in OUR OWN HOMES! If that’s what you’re giving us for the cost of registering a short-term rental you can keep it! It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Please… Say no to regulating Airbnb, vacation rentals, short-term rentals, whatever you want to call it. We don’t need you to tell us how to make our properties clean and safe anyway. We live here. I’ve raised six children here and 13 grandchildren. I think I’m pretty good at it. I don’t need your brochures to tell me how to clean my house. I’m sure that’s not what this is about anyway. It’s about money. It’s about College Station collecting our money because the hotel industry wants to shut us down. Why should we feel obligated to pay this occupancy tax and be forced to register when we are clearly helping the community. These people spend a lot of money in B/CS when they come here to visit. This is a good thing. We shouldn’t be punished for it.
Thank you very much But… NO THANKS!
Most genuinely and sincerely,
Brazos County Realty, Broker/Owner
13464 I and GN Rd
College Station, TX 77845
Willow Run Estate Airbnb
Place 1 Councilman
Place 2 Councilman
Place 3 Councilwoman
Place 5 Councilman
Place 6 Councilman