Millington hotel and motel owners unhappy about possible tax hike

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MILLINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South city wants to cover the cost of a stadium by making tourists pay more when they stay at area hotels and motels.

But hotel owners like Neal Patel say they are already feeling the effects of a rough economy.

"The economy right now, as everybody knows, is not doing so good," he said.

A slow economy has Millington facing a $20,000 shortfall for its funding of the USA Stadium Sports Complex.

"One of the things that has hurt us is the announcement of the Motorsports Park closing, because they would fill the motels up at least five times a year," Millington Mayor Richard Hodges said.

To deal with the problem, Hodges is considering a hike in the hotel-motel tax.  

"The motel owners are telling me that to raise it from a percent and a half to three percent would hurt them, because the tax rate would be too high compared to other communities," Hodges said.

City officials say the increase in the hotel-motel tax would help cover the lost revenue.  Patel says while business is slow, more taxes could pose an even bigger burden.

"Occupancy last year was a lot lower than the previous year and we're hoping to see some turnaround," he said.

While weekend baseball tournaments and new events like the American Legion fair, which will be held this summer, have helped cover some expenses, Hodges wants to assure the citizens of Millington that there will be a solution soon.

"I think they have a misunderstanding they're going to pay a percent and a half," he said. "It's only if you stay in the hotels."

Hodges said the city will also request extra funding through grants, sponsorships, and private donations.

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