City Council set to discuss Airbnb Tax, Abortion Resolution


PORTSMOUTH – Portsmouth City Council is set to vote on a couple controversial issues at the upcoming meeting scheduled for Monday, August 22nd.

Council will vote on a second reading of an ordinance that would enact a new chapter to the codified ordinances entitled ‘short term rental operations’. The new legislation would require certain types of short term rentals – most notably Airbnb properties – to apply to the city planning commission for a permit in order to operate. The legislation would also subject short term rentals to the same hotel/motel tax as other establishments within city limits.

Local taxes on AirBnB rentals are nothing new in Ohio. Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cuyahoga and Athens County all charge between 3% and 7% for occupancy taxes on rentals not exceeding 29 days.

Council will also choose whether or not to bring a resolution to the next city council agenda on Monday. Mayor and 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne proposed the resolution which would “honor the rights of pregnant people to bodily autonomy and control over their private medical decisions…affirming the city’s commitment to protecting the right of its residents to make reproductive healthcare decisions including abortion care.”

The resolution would establish city policy, except as required by state or federal law, as prohibiting city funds from being used to store or catalog any report of an abortion, miscarriage, or other reproductive healthcare act, providing information to any other governmental body or agency about an abortion, miscarriage, or reproductive healthcare act (unless such information is provided to defend the patient’s right to care), and conducting surveillance or information collection related to an individual or organization for the purpose of determining whether an abortion as occurred – except for aggregated data without personally identifying information or personal health information which would be collected for the purposes unrelated to criminal investigation, enforcement, or prosecution.

Furthermore, the legislation states that any investigation or prosecution of any allegation, charge, or information related to the outcome of a given pregnancy, including abortion care, would be the lowest possible priority for enforcement and the use of city resources except in the case of coercion, force, or criminal negligence towards the person seeking care.

Fifth Ward Councilman Joey Sandlin has already voiced his opposition to the resolution. It remains to be seen if it will go forward to the City Council agenda next month.

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