Haney: hotel tax will benefit the city – archyde

The Council abrogated the economic development fees and replaced them

The Ironton city council was able to achieve a long-sought goal at its last meeting in October, to repeal an economic development tax and replace it with a hotel tax.

Board member Chris Haney said the idea had been tabled in the past and, after being elected to the board in 2017, he tried to take her off the table in her freshman year, but she again been filed.

“Maybe there were legal issues as to why it couldn’t be filed, so I did a lot of research and worked on the language of a brand new excise tax on hotel motels 3 percent and I was able to get it on the agenda in September, ”Haney says.

Haney said the hotel tax, which was passed on October 28, will benefit the city.

“Along with the repeal of economic development fees, which I also sponsored,” he said. “I don’t think anyone understood what it was for in the first place. We were able to maintain the revenue in the fund by injecting 1.5%. 100 of this excise tax on hotel motels. Kill two birds with one stone by relieving the citizens.

He said the county took 5% of the economic development fee, while Ironton received 1%.

“With the remaining 5% that the county was taking, we had no say in the use of these funds,” Haney said. “Now the city has full control over the destination of this fund. The other 1.5 percent of the 3 percent goes to the community development and improvement fund. Everything is geared towards economic development and community development, and that is what it should be for a hotel tax.

Haney said the funds raised could be used for recreation in the city, in parks or city gateways.

“We talked about maybe having a bigger Christmas light show, and we could use funds like this to help support ideas around the community,” he said. “Also, just in town, using it for things that will draw people to the town and attract businesses to create a buzz and participate in lively events going on in town.”

Haney told those who oppose the tax they should keep in mind how similar systems benefit other places where they operate.

“If you look at other places, say you would go to a Cincinnati Reds football game and stay overnight, that kind of tax is applied and part of it goes to the municipality,” he said. declared. “The reasoning behind this for the people who supported the ordinance was that we need to have our say. The county, we understand that things are happening, but we want to put things on our schedule and take control of the things that we can control.

He said it would eliminate the wait to “get things done”.

“It seems like there is sometimes a game of waiting on things that happen, and that can speed things up,” Haney said. “If there’s something we need to do to get a business going, we have the funds to do it now. The most important thing is that it lightens the burden on citizens. We were able to reduce utility bills by $ 1.50. “

Haney said during the council meeting, member Craig Harvey asked Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation chairman Bill Dingus if he would be prepared to approach the county and ask it to repeal taxes. current.

“He said he wouldn’t be willing to do it,” Haney said. “We would still like to support some of these ideas. The sports complex that was discussed and we fully support the community visitors project, but we also want to have control over how these dollars are spent.

Dingus was invited to the meeting, where he expressed concern about the hotel tax.

He disagreed with the premise that the county got five percent of the profits from economic development fees, with only one percent going to Ironton.

“100% is spent on marketing and promoting development,” he said, saying “a lot” has gone to Ironton and Wayne National Forest.

“The five percent that the county gets, they don’t keep anything to themselves,” Dingus said.

Dingus said the economic development fees have been “a great investment for the county.”

“It’s been a real effort to market Ironton and the community,” he said.

Dingus said his biggest concern was “the negative impact” the changes will have.

“My concern is that if you go over 6 percent, you will be the highest in the state, except for counties where the legislature very specifically approved it,” he said.

Dingus said that in these cases the tax was approved for specific purposes, such as creating a baseball field.

“There is usually a building there to compensate for it,” he said.

He said the tax could impact the city’s hotel industry.

“I think that would put us at a very disadvantage where the people of Ashland can say Ironton is 50% higher,” Dingus said.

Dingus stressed that he thought the economic development fees were a boost for Ironton.

“It helps promote communities and attract visitors,” he said. “The benefits of that five percent go to you and everyone else. Ironton is the main town. Do you want to invest money to help market Ironton? The five percent go in there.

Haney said the council is still working with the county on bigger projects.

“We’re still working on a sports park, but it gives the city some leverage and basically puts the funds in our hands,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about how they are used. The hotels are in Ironton. I don’t think those dollars earned in city hotels should go to Proctorville or South Point. They should be reinvested in our community.

– Additional reporting by Sarah Simmons


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