2017-09-27 / Front Page

County to consider raising lodging tax to six percent

The Morgan County Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, October 18 to consider raising the county’s Hotel/Motel tax from four percent to six percent. The tax is added onto hotel, motel and bed and breakfast room charges at lodging businesses outside the two municipalities of Morgan County. The lodging tax is also added to bills for rental houses in the county.

The tax is collected by lodging businesses and submitted to the county. The total Hotel/Motel tax revenue is divided among several agencies. Travel Berkeley Springs receives half of the county-imposed tax to fund tourism promotion. The other half is distributed to local groups for recreation, beautification and cultural programs.

Hotels and inns inside the Town of Bath and Paw Paw also collect the tax. That revenue goes to each town government for distribution.

County officials expect to collect $120,000 from the Hotel/Motel tax in the coming fiscal year. Hiking the tax by two percent would raise an additional $60,000 annually.

Tourism officials have fought a tax increase in recent years, saying it would make hotel room costs higher and discourage overnight stays.

The tax was adopted in 1988 at the rate of four percent. Minor wording changes were made in 2001. The County Commission will consider raising the tax to six percent and also removing the exemption for lodging rooms that rent for more than 30 consecutive days.

The October 18 public hearing will begin at 1 p.m.

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