Motel owners oppose lodging tax increase
Priceville’s recently approved $2.50 per room per night lodging tax increase came under heavy fire from the town’s four motel owners at a regular town council meeting Monday night. Subsequently, the governing body agreed to reconsider the decision with the possibility of lowering the fee to $1.50.
The increase, which would bring Priceville’s gross lodging tax to 13 percent, is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1, 2013.
“This increase is a shocker and we need some relief,” said Decatur Attorney Tom Caddell, who represented the motel owners.
Caddell reminded the governing body that when the town was incorporated in 1975 its officials agreed to keep licenses fees and property tax at one-half of what the City of Decatur charges.
“If you implement this increase, it brings your gross lodging tax to 18 percent (including 5 percent for the state),” Caddell said. “This exceeds all of my clients’ competitors in the area.”
He pointed out that the gross receipts rate in Moulton and Hartselle, with no nightly rate is 10 percent and in Decatur it’s 11 per cent plus a $2 per night fee.
Mayor Melvin Duran stated that revenue from the rate adjustment would be used to grow business and support community events that will bring in more overnight guests.
“One of the projects we’re doing now is landscaping the I-65 interchange to make it more appealing to travelers,” he pointed.
Nick Patel, owner of Budget Inn, said the town’s motels are hurting for business because the town doesn’t offer enough big sporting events like soccer tournaments and fishing competitions to draw in customers.
“We ask you to consider adopting a 6 percent gross rate plus $1.00 a night, bringing the gross rate to 13 percent,” Caddell said. “I urge you not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”
“We’re probably not going to knock off the $2.50 per night but we’re willing to take your request under advisement.” We might be willing to compromise and lower the increase to $1.50.”
The council acted on other matters as follows:
•Approved payment of July bills totaling $140,073.09.
•Authorized an advertisement for bids for concrete work to include forming, pouring and finishing, effective through Sept. 30, 2014.
•Approved an expenditure of $509.67 for the purchase of shirts/vests for the town’s office personnel.
•Approved a request from Priceville Junior High School for $5,500 to purchase 20 refurbished computers at $275 each.
•Approved up to $9,000 for car show expenses Saturday night.
•Approved registration and travel expenses for Mayor Melvin Duran and councilman Don Livingston to attend the Transportation, Public Safety and Communication Committee Day in Montgomery Sept. 5, 2013.