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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hotel/motel tax may add $10k to rec center/aquatic project

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Storm Lake city council members plan to pursue a hotel/motel tax to support tourism and recreation in the city.

According to Administrator John Call, revenue from the tax could bring in up to $100,000 and could be used for a community and aquatic center.

During a study session Monday, Call said 82 cities in Iowa have established the tax.

State law allows cities to tax up to 7 percent. Forty-four Iowa communities tax at the full rate.

Call estimated that if the city taxed at the full rate of 7 percent, a hotel/motel tax could generate between $80,000 and $100,000 - as a conservative estimate.

Under state law, the city would spend at least 50 percent of the money on recreation, conventions or tourism. It also could be used to build or operate items related to those activities.

Call said a possibility would be an 80/20 split between the city and the Chamber of Commerce.

The city could set aside $72,000 a year for construction

and operation of a community center or aquatic center, while the chamber spends its amount on promoting tourism.

Public money cannot be used to promote a hotel/motel tax. The city council would have to appoint a citizens committee to educate the public, Call said.

The tax needs a simple majority to pass. The vote could be in a special election or the general election. Council members favored the latter to save costs.

The tax could take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2003.

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