Council raises lodging tax by one cent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Staff Writer

Beginning next year, anyone staying in a Troy motel will pay one cent more on each dollar.

Monday night, the Troy City Council levied a one-cent lodging tax increase to benefit tourism.

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About a month ago, Stan Rutter of Holiday Inn approached the Troy City Council about raising the tax by a penny.

And, the council did raise it from 7 cents to 8 cents on each dollar spent at local motels and RV parks.

As part of the agreement, the city will enter into a contract for an allocation which will by used to support the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee with the money going to "marketing efforts to increase tourism to the city and the county of Pike."

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said the city will have to allocate the funds because it can not appropriate tax money to the Chamber because it is a private entity.

The funds will apparently be used to hire a part-time staff person for the Chamber. That individual will be responsible for creating literature, attending tourism tradeshows and conferences and developing local events that would bring tourists to Troy and "generally promote Troy to tourists."

According to information presented to the council, Troy’s lodging tax is lower than most in this area. For example, Dothan’s lodging tax is 9 cents, Ozark’s is 8, along with Montgomery and Panama City, Fla.

All six local motel owners signed the petition asking for the council to raise the lodging tax by one cent.

The council suspended the rules to approve the measure because, otherwise, it would be January before the council could take action on the matter.

"I know the Chamber is anxious to get started," Council President John Witherington said.

City Clerk Alton Starling said the measure should be in place by January and the first collection to be in February (for January taxes).

In other business, the council:

· Announced that it will not meet on Dec. 26 unless the need arises.

· Passed a resolution to go on record in support of the proposed limited access interstate highway connector between Interstate 10 and Interstate 85.

"It’s very important to our community," Witherington said.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Marsha Gaylard said "it’s not something that’s going to happen in the near future," but is a matter for which everyone needs to plan.

"We want it to come as close to our city as we can get it," Lunsford said.

· Passed a resolution to renew a Local Law Enforcement Planning Grant that will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pike County.

· Set a Jan. 9, 2001 public hearing for a rezoning request. The request involves 3.4 acres at Spradley Drive and Highway 87 being rezoned from residential to business for the construction of an office complex.

· Was informed the city has reached a settlement agreement in the lawsuit alleging breach of contract filed in 1994 by Dr. Victor Rodriguez against Edge Regional Medical Center. The city was involved because the lawsuit was filed prior to the sell of the facility.

Lunsford said the cost of litigation would "far exceed" the agreed price, which he would not reveal because the actual agreement has not been signed.

The money will come from the trust fund set up by the sale.

· Appointed Donald Kelly and Roy Sanders to three-year terms on the Board of Adjustments; Jerry McLendon, James Ray and George Reeves to three-year terms on the Board of Adjustments and Appeals; Dale Calhoun to a five-year term on the Charles Henderson Medical Clinic Board and Evelyn Watson to a four-year term on the Library Board.