WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) -Wichita Falls City council members are one step closer with a Hotel Occupancy Tax Proposition for 2020. At Tuesday's meeting council reviewed the information presented at the last meeting and took a vote to push the tax increase to the next step. That next step is off to the Texas Comptroller office.
"What we are looking at is a two percent tax increase on hotel fees. Basically, for a $100 per night hotel bill, you're looking at a two dollars. The benefit here is that it's an increase for people visiting the city rather than an increase in the property tax," said City Attorney, Kinley Hegglund.
One of the biggest arguments for those against the tax increases is all about property taxes. The money will predominately come from out-of-towners rather than Falls residents.
“It’s going to be something that is going to be useful for people that are visiting the town, so we think it makes sense for them to help pay for facilities that they are visiting and using,” said Hegglund.
The tax increase would generate approximately $550,000 a year which would pay back a six million dollar bond the city would take out to pay for needed repairs to the MPEC facilities.
“The genius goes back to our strategic planning when the City council said yes. We still have those needs at MPEC it didn’t go away. Even though the proposition didn’t past last May 2018, those needs didn’t go away and rather than ask for an increase on property taxes what other alternative revenue sources are there out there that could ease the burden on local taxpayers and that is the one we are working on at this point,” said City Manager, Darron Leiker.
The MPEC is so severely in need of "some" repairs that the city could be losing conventions and bookings because of the problems.
“If we get to the point where the roof starts leaking habitually it’s going to be hard to bring in conventions. So we want to stop that from happening, we want to make sure that we don’t get to the point where we start to lose business,” said Hegglund.
The Wichita Falls city council will have to approve the proposed hike before it would go to voters and an election could be as soon as this November.