By Marty Bachman

The Ely City Council rejected a request by Council member Bruce Setterstrom to increase the city’s transient lodging tax by 2 percent at their June 9 meeting.

City Attorney Chuck Odgers presented the agenda item on behalf of Setterstrom, who was a no-show at the meeting. Odgers said that the tax would be used to pay for infrastructure repair in the city while the ordinance read that it would be used to promote tourism.

The tax would have increased the current rate of 11.5 percent on what hotel visitors shell out for local rooms, to 12.5 percent on Aug. 1, 2016, and then to 13.5 percent on July 1, 2017.

Council member Sam Hanson moved to approve the new tax rate and his motion was seconded by Council member Jolene Gardner.

No discussion was held and the vote ended in a 2-2 tie with Hanson and Gardner in favor while council members Pat Robison and Kurt Carson voted against the increase. This left the decision up to Mayor Melody VanCamp, who said she was against the tax and voted no, effectively killing the ordinance.

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