Valdosta proposes higher hotel and motel tax rate -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta proposes higher hotel and motel tax rate

Mark Barber Mark Barber
Valdosta City hall Valdosta City hall

If the City of Valdosta gets its way, you may have to shell out a couple extra dollars the next time you stay in a hotel or motel in Valdosta.

City leaders have proposed a 2% increase in the city's hotel and motel tax rate.

"Currently, the tax is at five percent and we're going to ask that it goes to seven percent," said Mark Barber, Valdosta's Finance Director.

Barber emphasized that this is not a new tax though, it is simply an increase in the current tax. 

With the current tax rate of 5%, if a hotel costs $70 per night, guests would pay $3.50 in taxes. With proposed increased rate of 7%, guests would pay $4.90 in taxes.

"The additional two percent is necessary because we need to make improvements to Mathis City Auditorium as well as to the James H. Rainwater Conference Center," said Barber.

In November the city voted to continue SPLOST, a tax that helps pay for various improvement projects throughout the city. But that money "can only be used for capital construction type projects," said Barber, and the improvements to the auditorium and conference center do not meet that qualification.

In a way, that's a good thing, Barber pointed out. Because the hotels and motels are used almost exclusively by travelers, the travelers will be the ones paying for the improvements, not Valdosta's residents.

"This is a good way to raise that funding without encumbering our local citizens to foot the bill," Barber said.

The proposal will be voted on at tonight's city council, which starts at 5:30 pm in city hall. The meeting is open to the public. 

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