F’ville hikes transient tax 60%
Fayetteville will join a number of neighboring cities by increasing the hotel/motel tax to 8 percent. The additional funds generated over the current 5 percent rate will be used for promotional efforts and tourism development.
That represents a 60 percent increase in the tax rate paid by any who stay in local hotels and motels.
The 3-2 vote at the June 19 meeting had Councilmen Mickey Edwards, Ed Johnson and Scott Stacy voting in favor of the measure and Councilmen Paul Oddo and Jim Williams opposed.
Oddo after the meeting said, “We’re still in a recession so we don’t need to raise the tax now. We had also previously extended the (tax rate) from a two-week stay to a four-week stay. (Increasing the rate) sends the wrong message.”
Pertaining to his opposing vote, Williams said, “I am a firm believer in keeping taxes to a minimum. I think this is a bad time in our history to increase taxes.”
Community development director Brian Wismer in a previous letter said the hotel/motel tax rate has been maintained at 5 percent since 2001.
“In 2008, the state created an allowance for an 8 percent rate. Since that time, many of the surrounding communities have opted for the 8 percent rate to create funds for tourism development and promotion. Peachtree City, McDonough, Stockbridge and Clayton County are a few examples of those that have already implemented the 8 percent rate,” Wismer said.
Wismer said the tax would be applicable to the first 30 days of a hotel stay. He said implementing the 8 percent rate will allow the city to increase promotional efforts which attract travelers and tourists to stay in local hotels.
“It will also allow the city to create tourism development projects that will improve (Fayetteville’s) destination appeal to visitors,” Wismer said.
The difference in the percentage of tax over the current amount must be split, with a minimum of one-half going toward promotional efforts and the remainder being eligible for tourism product development, Wismer said.
Wismer said examples of eligible tourism projects include the new Ridge nature center on Burch Road operated by Southern Conservation Trust, the Holliday-Dorsey-Fife Museum and the amphitheater.
The ordinance requires that projects be identified and updated annually and be included in the annual budget process, Wismer said.