Ahoskie requests Occupancy Tax

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

AHOSKIE – Legislation will soon be introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly that will benefit the Town of Ahoskie.

During their meeting here Tuesday, Ahoskie Town Council members formally approved forwarding a request to local legislators Howard Hunter Jr. (NC House of Representatives) and Robert Holloman (NC Senate) who, in turn, will introduce an Occupancy Tax bill on the floor of both seats of state government.

If approved, Ahoskie will be granted the authority to levy an occupancy tax of up to three percent of gross recipients derived from the rental of any room furnished by a hotel, motel, inn, tourist camp or similar place within the town limits that is subject to sales tax.

In return, the town can apply two percent of this additional tax money to promote travel and tourism. The other one percent will be placed in the town’s General Fund for administrative purposes.

Ahoskie Council members had discussed the measure last year. At that time, the discussion centered on using the tax proceeds for downtown revitalization. However, as Town Manager Tony Hammond pointed out during Tuesday’s meeting, the two percent is required to be designated for travel and tourism purposes.

&uot;I am aware there was some earlier discussions concerning using this tax money for downtown revitalization, but the state says you cannot use this money for that sole purpose,&uot; said Hammond. &uot;They have very strict rules when it comes to how this tax money is spent.&uot;

Hammond did add that the one percent of the tax designated to come back to the town for administrative purposes could be used for the sole purpose of downtown revitalization.

According to the wording of Senate Bill 339, the money generated by the Occupancy Tax can be used to advertise or market an area or activity, publish and distribute pamphlets, conduct market research or engage in promotional activities that attract tourists or business travelers to the area. It can also be used to promote the use of lodging or meeting facilities.

&uot;You may decide to use this tax to further support financially or completely supplement the money you currently designate to the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce,&uot; Hammond noted.

As a part of the special legislation, Ahoskie officials must agree to the creation of a Tourism Development Authority, a public group responsible for expending the net proceeds of the Occupancy Tax.