County raises hotel tax to 4%
The Morgan County Commissioners granted a request from Travel Berkeley Springs (TBS) last week, and voted unanimously to raise their lodging tax from 3% to 4%. The change will take effect on May 1.
The increase will mean that guests at lodging businesses in Morgan County, but outside the incorporated towns of Bath and Paw Paw, will pay an additional 1% on any overnight stay. On average, it will raise local hotel bills by $1.
County officials held a public hearing about the tax hike last month, and only received comments in favor of the increase.
TBS lobbied for the change as a way to bolster their budget, since they receive half of any Hotel/Motel tax revenue.
TBS has hit tight times lately, said President Stephanie Rebant and
board member Jeanne Mozier.
Part of the budget shortfalls can be traced to big declines in revenue from the town-imposed lodging tax. Bath officials are also currently working out how to collect more than $30,000 in overdue Hotel/Motel taxes.
The Town of Bath is also raising the tax for lodging guests.
Commissioner Brad Close made the motion for the county to change its lodging tax rate, though he was reluctant to do so.
“As a conservative, obviously its hard to raise taxes on anything,” Close said, then acknowledged that TBS member businesses were vocal in their support of the tax increase.
TBS promotes local tourism through its website and a variety of advertising avenues.