BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

What’s plan for bed tax?

In a 19-0 vote, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a new

4 percent hotel/motel occupancy tax law set to take effect after

July 1.

The tax will affect any facility providing lodging to the public on an overnight basis, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, cottages, lodges, vacation rentals, home rentals, camp rentals, apartments, resorts, guest houses, town houses, condominiums, RV parks and tourist facilities.

The tax is expected to raise about $150,000 annually.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead has said state law requires the money be segregated in a reserve account, the stated purpose of which is apparently for the promotion of tourism and economic development, although no allocation plan has been broken down where these new tax dollars will be spent.

We’ve said in the past that we don’t like the bed tax. The measure had unanimous support despite vehement opposition from county residents who own entities that will now have to charge the tax, keep additional records for the tax and submit a check on the required deadline for the tax.

Second Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. summed up the reason why, “This is logical because we can’t afford the [state] mandates.”

Lauria’s rationale, supported by the rest of the board, is simply that state mandates continue to eat up more and more of the county’s tax revenues, and its available property tax-cap space. The bed tax will allow tourism promotion to have a funding stream separate from the property tax levy.

While that may be true, we would have preferred to have seen a more detailed plan for exactly how the board plans to spend these revenues. We also question why the bed tax had to start out so high, at 4 percent. We support the thinking of those people who are in the hospitality business who have to implement and keep track of the tax.

A 2 percent tax would have been a better starting point.

It’s entirely possible the bed tax will hinder local tourism, so we will be watching this closely.

In the meantime, the Board of Supervisors should provide the public with a detailed plan of how this money will be spent.

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