2017-12-13 / Front Page

Bath raises Hotel/Motel tax rate

by Trish Rudder

Town of Bath officials voted last week to raise the Hotel/Motel tax from four percent to six percent to begin January 1, 2018.

The amended law also affects renters who occupy rooms for 30 or more consecutive days. Those lodging guests will now be taxed. In the past, lodgers who occupied rooms for 30 or more consecutive days were exempt from the tax.

Guests at inns, bed and breakfast establishments, hotels, motels and vacation rentals located inside the Town of Bath pay the hotel/motel tax.

In the public hearing that was held prior to the December 5 council vote, Jeanne Mozier of Travel Berkeley Springs told the council that since the county raised the hotel/motel tax rate outside the town limits, the town has to go along with raising its rates as well.

Morgan County officials voted to raise the tax from four to six percent in October. The tax has been at four percent since 2011.

As dictated by the lodging law, 50% of the hotel/motel tax collected goes to the local tourism bureau, Travel Berkeley Springs, for tourism promotion. The other half is distributed to local groups that promote tourism, beautification, historical or cultural efforts in the town.

Finance chair Andy Swaim said during the budget discussions each year, the committee tries to make sure the recipients are following the rules that allows their organizations to benefit from the tax.

Councilman Rick Weber made a motion to adopt the amendments and town recorder Susan Webster seconded the motion.

All of the members except Councilwoman Elizabeth Skinner voted for the hotel/motel tax hike.

Lodging businesses in the town collected $45,079 in hotel/motel tax in 2016.

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