Hotel tax discussions in works

Published 10:54 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A proposed increase in the lodging tax approved by the Pike County Commission has been delayed.

“There’s still some negotiations going on,” said State Rep. Alan Boothe D-Troy. “We want everybody to be pleased.”

The proposed tax, initially endorsed by Commissioner Homer Wright, is designed is to generate revenue for the county without having a negative financial impact on residents.

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The increase, which would raise the current lodging tax on motels and hotels from 8 percent to 10 percent, has been criticized by some local businesses.

Stan Rutter, general manager of the Hampton Inn in Troy, previously told The Messenger the tax may not achieve its intended purpose.

“The whole thing is misguided because the perception is people from out of town will be paying,” Rutter said. “That’s not true. It touches so many businesses here in town.”

Boothe said discussions are taking place to ensure all involved parties are in agreement.

“We don’t want to do something that’s detrimental to the city,” he said.

For the legislation to advance, an agreeable plan on how to invest the projected gained-revenue, would most likely be required to appease all groups.

Boothe said that the tax still could appear on the June ballot.

Two other legislative actions are on the move as well.

First, a bill has been drawn by the Alabama Legislative Reference Service (LRS) to authorize the county commission to raise the salary of the Pike County County Coroner.

Second, a proposed tax to fund volunteer fire departments in the county is back in the hands of County Attorney Allen Jones.

The bill, which had been previously submitted to the LRS, has undergone further revisions by Jones and should be resubmitted to the LRS soon.

After both bills are drafted they are required to be advertised in the newspaper once a week for four weeks.

Once the bills have met those requirements they move through the state Legislature and Senate before being brought to voters.