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Third-party vendor to monitor short-term rentals in Marble Falls

Marble Falls Director of Finance Jeff Lazenby

The Marble Falls City Council on Feb. 1 approved entering into a $12,717 professional services agreement with Granicus for short-term rental monitoring. During the council's regular meeting, Director of Finance Jeff Lazenby (right) presented information about the agreement. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

Regulations, registration, and tax collections for short-term rentals within the Marble Falls city limits will be handled by a third-party vendor. The City Council approved a $12,717 professional services agreement with Granicus during its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 1. 

Marble Falls adopted a short-term rental ordinance outlining rules for both owners and guests in November of last year. In mid-January, city staff saw presentations by companies Granicus and GovOS, both of which provide short-term rentals and hotel occupancy tax administration and collection services to local governments. 

Granicus provided the least expensive proposal, coming in at roughly $13,000, while the GovOS quote was over $26,000. 

In addition to being less expensive, staff agreed the product was better.  

“There was really no comparison as far as from the back end for staff and then from the front end for the consumer or the STR user,” said City Secretary Christina McDonald. 

Tasks and services overseen by Granicus will include authenticating the addresses of each registered short-term rental, compliance monitoring, mobile permitting and registration access, and a 24/7 hotline through which residents can report noise, parking, trash, and other violations. 

The company will assist short-term rental owners in reporting hotel occupancy taxes to the city and provide payment opportunities through an online portal.  

Costs associated with the third party will be paid through registration fees collected by the city, explained Jeff Lazenby, the city’s director of finance. The financial department is currently creating a fee table for short-term rental registration. 

“Typical onboarding time for the platform is about eight to 10 weeks and in March,” Lazenby said. “(We’ll present) a master fee schedule update to include the addition of registration of fees for short-term rentals.” 

No registration fees are being collected at this time. The city will update its short-term rental webpage once more information on fees and rental registration is available.

brigid@thepicayune.com