Crookston Inn & Convention Center owner Todd Jacobson thinks lodging tax should go away so that he can spend the 3% on his own marketing/advertising plan

    A local hotel owner says he’d like to see Crookston’s lodging tax go away and he thinks the Convention & Visitors Bureau needs to come up with another plan as how to proceed in the future or “we are just going to stay in our current state of survival.” Todd Jacobson, owner of the Crookston Inn & Convention Center, told the Times he’d like to use the 3 percent lodging tax on each hotel stay normally sent to the city for his own marketing plan with billboards and regional advertising.

    “I only say this not because I am anti tax, but the reality of the lodging tax situation is that not enough is being collected to allow a competitive place in the regional hosting of events for cities,” explained Jacobson.

    “I think that increasing the tax is only going to add more burden to the local motels that, frankly, can’t sustain any more tax increases,” he added, referring to the significant property tax increase for commercial businesses in 2016 where the Crookston Inn saw a 180 percent increase from the 2014-15 to 2015-16 tax season.

    Former Polk County Assessor Robert Wagner told the Times in February 2016 that the Crookston Inn had one of the highest increases in the community, but that their property had not been assessed for years and a few owners ago.   

    Jacobson says that he thinks that the original plan for the lodging tax money was to be “competitive in attracting regional events to the city”, but that the budget for the CVB “doesn’t allow” it to be able to compete in regional sporting events, arts, and business events.

    “We are dealing with less lodging tax now then when we had only three motels in town,” he continued. “The addition of another motel was thought to allow Crookston the ability to bid on regional events because now we have enough beds, but as we are finding out this hasn’t happened.”

    Jacobson said that there are great things happening in Crookston like Ox Cart Days and the Blue Line Club’s hockey tournaments, but that those organizations had people step up to “make it happen” for the community.

    “What’s the answer? I’m not sure,” he added matter-of-factly. “One thing I do know that is if you don’t know how to fix a problem asking someone that has (an answer) is a great idea.”

    Jacobson says he will continue to support the CVB, but that he would like to see some “significant changes” for the future and added that he thinks a new mission statement needs to be drafted to define what the purpose of the CVB is for the future of Crookston.

    “Regionally the economy in our area has been hit pretty hard by a variety of issues like farm prices, Canadian Exchange rates thus fewer Canadians traveling to the states, and just an overall slowdown of the local economy, but I think this year could be a good year if the current trend continues!” Jacobson finished.