Worcester County Takes Steps to Increase Room Tax - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Worcester County Takes Steps to Increase Room Tax

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Ocean City (Photo: WBOC) Ocean City (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- People staying in Ocean City could eventually end up paying more for their hotel or condo stay. That's because Worcester County is taking steps to raise the room tax by half-a-percent from 4.5 to 5 percent.

The Worcester County Commissioners recently voted to introduce a bill that would start the process of raising the county room tax.

That bill would allow a maximum hotel rental tax rate of 5 percent in Worcester County, as permitted by state law.

A public hearing for the bill has been scheduled for May 21.

Susan Jones with the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association said the room tax increase is needed to help with marketing the resort town.

"We have almost a thousand more rooms than we had a few years ago, so if you have all this new supply, you have to figure out how to generate all the tax revenue," said Jones.

Vice President of the Worcester County Commissioners Joe Mitrecic said commissioners will likely vote on the bill on May 21 as well. 

After that, he said the commissioners will have to vote on a resolution that would actually put the room tax increase in place.

Visitors like Carliss and Tara Eby from Hagerstown said the potential increase may drive some people away.

"The money restraints as it is with gas prices constantly going up. Stuff like that makes it a lot harder when they raise prices on taxes. It makes it harder for families," said Carliss.

However, Jones said the county's room tax is already low compared to other destinations.

"There are places that are 14 percent, 15, 22," she said. "And all of those fees are added to pay for visitor-related improvements."

The resolution to put the room tax increase in place requires a unanimous vote from all commissioners.

If passed, the Town of Ocean City is requesting the increase go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.


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