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City board pursues hospitality tax

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 10:53 am

When the Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen meets this week, it will consider adopting a resolution that would see the city ask the Tennessee General Assembly to approve a private act authorizing Fayetteville to enact a new hospitality tax.

Also known as the hotel-motel occupancy tax, the hospitality tax wouldn’t be new to local places of lodging — hotels and motels here already charge a hospitality tax of five percent levied by Lincoln County. On top of that, they pay a state tax of 9.5 percent.

The City of Fayetteville, however, does not currently levy a hospitality tax, but in Thursday morning’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session, officials informally agreed to place the resolution on its agenda for its December meeting. That meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m.

According to the resolution being proposed, the city would ask state Sen. Jim Tracy and state Rep. Pat Marsh to sponsor legislation before the 109th General Assembly that authorizes Fayetteville to enact a hospitality tax of five percent or less. Revenues generated by the tax would be used by the city for funding tourism and economic development, according to the resolution.

In other business during Thursday’s work session, officials discussed repealing the city’s current ordinance that allows Fayetteville to charge for false emergency alarms not caused by an act of nature.

The new ordinance that has been drafted would allow the city to charge for expenses over and above the cost of responding to false alarms. That ordinance is also expected to be on the agenda of this week’s meeting.

According to the draft, the extensive use of automatic emergency alarm systems has resulted in an increasing number of false alarms in the city, the impact of which reduces fire and police departments’ resources. The ordinance also notes that adequate maintenance would reduce the number of false alarms.

The first false alarm would result in a verbal notification by a fireman or police officer; a second false alarm would result in a letter; a third false alarm would result in a warning letter; a fourth false alarm would result in a $25 fine.

Additionally, officials discussed concerns related to Wells Hill Park where the city still maintains 10 or 12 acres, along with a pavilion, where problems have resulted from teens as well as adults hanging out. As a result of those problems, the city’s Department of Recreation is likely to close the park at dark each day. Too, the problems are likely to result in fines being imposed in instances where fires are built without a permit.

Other items also expected to be on the agenda of this week’s City Board meeting include a resolution that would provide financing for acquisition of a new garbage truck and authorization for the mayor to sign a letter that will accompany a grant application for the development of what is being called a riverwalk connecting downtown Fayetteville to the Elk River at Stonebridge Memorial Park.

It was also noted in discussion that it is time for evaluations of Scott Collins, Fayetteville’s new city administrator. If evaluations are satisfactory, the board is expected to proceed with developing a contract with Collins.