Airbnb to collect city lodging taxes

When someone rents a house or a room through Airbnb in Duluth, the company will automatically collect a 3 percent city lodging tax starting in June, under an agreement approved by the City Council. The bookings are already subject to the tax, but city staff has found that not all Airbnb hosts have understood that.

“Right now our process includes going out on Airbnb and looking at who’s listing their properties and then we look to see who’s actually filing returns,” said Duluth’s Chief Financial Officer Wayne Parson. “As you might be able to imagine, a lot of these people that are hosts don’t do this as a full-time business and they don’t understand that they’re supposed to be collecting taxes and remitting taxes.”

The city’s arrangement with Airbnb will make tax collection and remittance easier for hosts. The city will also be assured of getting the correct lodging tax. Airbnb has more than 370 such “tax partnerships” in the country, but the Duluth agreement will be the first in Minnesota. Airbnb properties in Duluth hosted more than 9,500 guests last year.

Pam Louwagie


Grants awarded to house homeless veterans

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are awarding nearly $627,000 to five housing authorities across the state to provide permanent homes for 100 homeless veterans.

The vouchers, which allow veterans to obtain affordable housing in the private market, combine rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA.

Nationally, more than 87,000 vouchers have been awarded. The Minnesota vouchers will go to the Clay County Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Metropolitan Council Housing & Redevelopment Authority, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, the St. Paul Public Housing Authority and the Washington County Housing & Redevelopment Authority.

Mark Brunswick


Voters approve school district referendums

Voters in all three Minnesota school districts that held referendums last Tuesday approved at least part of their district’s funding request.

In Grand Rapids, voters approved a request to spend $68.9 million to build two elementary schools and renovate and expand Cohasset Elementary to help address overcrowding. A request for $5 million to improve practice fields and weight and locker rooms failed.

In Brainerd, voters approved spending $145.71 million to fund improvements to elementary and secondary school buildings and a performing arts center. And in Morrison County, voters in the Pierz School District approved spending an additional $9.9 million on building improvements.

School referendums were once held throughout the year, but are now limited to only three days outside the general and primary elections — the second Tuesdays of February, April and May.

Kelly Smith