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Texas campground and RV parks should no longer be unfairly charged for water and sewer services, thanks to legislative efforts by the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).
About 65 representatives from 25 RV parks heard the good news during TACO’s annual fall meeting, which took place Oct. 23–24 at the RV Ranch of South Fort Worth in Burleson, Texas.
Several Texas municipalities had been assessing fees on campgrounds and RV parks on a per site basis, regardless of whether anyone was actually camping there, said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO. He added that the practice of treating transient RV parks as if they were manufactured home communities resulted in exorbitant fees for some park operators.
TACO, however, succeeded in persuading the Texas legislature to pass a bill mandating that RV parks get charged for water and sewer services just like any other commercial entity, Schaeffer said. TACO will now focus its efforts on educating Texas municipalities and water boards about the new legislation so that private parks are not unfairly assessed for water and sewer services.
TACO is also continuing to work with state legislators to find ways to reduce the sales tax that private parks pay for electric utility service. “We want to standardize the procedure for obtaining refunds or be declared exempt from sales tax,” Schaeffer said.
In other developments, Schaeffer told campground operators that TACO has generated nearly $50,000 in unanticipated revenue, thanks to strong sales of TACO’s state campground directory and continued increases in the association’s membership base.
The circulation for TACO’s RV Travel and Camping Guide to Texas and New Mexico has grown to 265,000 annually, he said, adding that the directory is distributed free of charge through various welcome centers located near the major points of entry into the state.
The directory is also distributed by campground and RV park members and is given away at 35 RV shows. “We also have good support (for the directory) from (RV) dealers, convention and visitors bureaus and from attractions like SeaWorld,” Schaeffer said.
TACO’s membership, meanwhile, has grown by 60 parks, giving the association a total of 431 members in Texas and New Mexico, Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said attendance at the fall meeting was down somewhat because many Texas parks have set aside time to attend ARVC’s Annual InSites Convention & Expo in Austin, which is slated for Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.