Tourist tax rate to rise?

Tia Lynn Ivey News

The Madison Mayor and City Council is considering raising the Hotel/Motel Tax after Ellen Sims, director of the Madison-Morgan Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), presented the request at the last work session of the council on Friday, Nov. 3.

According to Sims, Madison has the lowest Hotel/Motel Tax rate in the area, coming in at 5 percent, while most of the surrounding region has adopted a tax rate of 8 percent. Sims stressed that if the Hotel/Motel Tax rate increased, it would be out-of-town patrons who stay at Madison lodging facilities.

“This is not a tax increase for our residents,” said Sims.

According to The City of Madison, “The Madison-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), a nonprofit corporation partially funded through Madison’s hotel/motel tax, guides the very successful community tourism effort. The CVB employs a full-time director. In addition to operating the Madison Welcome Center, the CVB coordinates all regional marketing initiatives and concentrates upon promoting Madison and Morgan County to both national and international visitors. Tourism has become Madison’s leading economic engine and is instrumental to local economic vitality and community development.”

“Our jobs are to get heads in those beds,” said Sims of bringing tourists to stay in our local lodging business and spending money at our local shops, restaurants, and other tourist attractions. “That’s what we are supposed to be doing – promoting Madison to the outer market, bringing visitors in and bringing in more money for our town and our residents.”

Sims believes raising the Hotel/Motel Tax would further the CVB’s ability to promote Madison as a tourist destination and enable the city to put even more money towards tourism projects that attract visitors.

“I would like to see money go toward public art,” said Hodges during the discussion.

The council will review Sims’ proposal and follow-up with more public discussion about it at a future meeting.

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