On March 16, 2022

Woodstock option tax stays defeated in recount

Staff report

A recount of ballots had no change on the outcome for Woodstock’s proposed 1% option sales tax.

The option tax was narrowly defeated 425-415, with 23 blank in the recount on Thursday, March 10. On Town Meeting Day, March 1, the outcome was 426-417, with 24 blank.

“Instead of a margin of nine, it’s a margin of 10,” Woodstock Town Clerk Charles Degener said.

Degener said a group of seven people counted the ballots by hand for about 2 hours on Thursday morning.

The recount, which is rare for Woodstock, occurred after the request of a resident on Monday, March 7. Karim Houry, the owner of Woodstocker B&B, petitioned for the original item to be on the ballot, explaining the money from the option tax could fund infrastructure needs.

Woodstock already has a 1% option tax on rooms and meals, which brings in about $270,000 a year that goes to the Woodstock Economic Development Commission to fund various economic projects.

While proponents said the sales tax would bring more revenue to Woodstock, some business owners have fought hard against it.

“Although it may have helped pay for some things, it would have caused problems in the business community,” said Jeff Kahn, the owner of the Unicorn and the chair of the Woodstock Village Trustees.

Kahn explained some businesses, like the Woodstock Home and Hardware, might have lost sales to nearby New Hampshire if there was an added sales tax.

“I think it was the right decision,” Kahn said.

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