Dover Eyes Lodging Tax on Hotel Stays - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Eyes Lodging Tax on Hotel Stays

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A hotel room door at the Mainstay Suites. A hotel room door at the Mainstay Suites.

DOVER, Del. --- An ordinance to impose a 3-percent lodging tax on hotel stays in Dover has been fast-tracked after state lawmakers enabled the measure last month.

City officials project the move could bring in anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million in revenue. The proposal was discussed at a committee meeting this week.

"I support it," said Council President Bill Hare, who represents one of the nine members of Dover's council.

The planned lodging tax was enabled by a House Bill passed in June by the General Assembly on the final day of the legislative calendar, along with a similar proposal to let Kent County apply a lodging tax to hotel stays within its boundaries.

But unlike the city's proposal, the county lodging tax would divert funds to the DE Turf sporting complex near Frederica. The revenue, according to organizers with the nonprofit that manages the facility, would go toward helping to bid on national tournaments that would bring in revenue and guests to county hotels.

If both taxes are approved it would mean hotel stays in Dover would be taxed at a rate of 14 percent.

According to the Delaware General Assembly website, neither bill had yet been signed by Gov. John Carney (D).

Lodging taxes are typically included in the overall bill for a hotel stay and are applied to the listed price for a reserved room.

Bob Hartley with Mainstay Suites in Dover said he could support the county's planned lodging tax because its intent is to attract larger events to Kent County and thereby bring more visitors to his hotel.

However, Hartley opposes Dover's lodging tax and thinks the city ought to use existing revenue sources, like a recently hiked property tax, before it starts using the cost of hotel stays as a new one.

"I think the services the city offers should come out of its own taxes, not by raising a second tax," he said.

State Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover), a chief backer on both the county and city lodging tax proposals, said he doesn't believe hotel stays will become too expensive because of either measure and noted out-of-state visitors would likely be paying the taxes.

"People don't look at the lodging taxes and I don't think it's going to have any negative effects on hotels in the city," he said.

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