N’hampton occupancy tax approved

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2008

JACKSON – The room occupancy tax in Northampton County is now solidified.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners finalized the tax by holding a public hearing to take public comment on the topic.

No comments by the public were offered.

An act authorized last year by the General Assembly allows the county to “levy a room occupancy tax of up to 6 percent of the gross receipts derived from the rental of any room, lodging, or accommodation furnished by a hotel, motel, inn, tourist camp or similar place within the county that is subject to sales tax imposed by the state.”

In February, the commissioners approved a resolution establishing a Northampton County Tourism Development Authority to oversee the expenditure of the funds collected by the tax. The General Assembly guidelines required at least one-third of that board be individuals who are affiliated with businesses that collect the tax and at least one-half of the members be those that are currently active in the promotion of travel and tourism in the county.

In the same meeting, the commissioners approved Roy Bell, Jim Gossip, William Lucas and Doc Boone to serve on the Authority as well as appointed Commissioner James Hester (D-1st).

Other members of the Authority include County Manager Wayne Jenkins and June Warren, President of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, as ex-officio members with full authority to vote and deliberate.

According to the General Assembly act, on a quarterly basis, the county must remit the net proceeds of the occupancy tax to the Northampton County Tourism Development Authority, which will used two-thirds of the funds to promote travel and tourism in the county and use the remaining funds for tourism related expenditures.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill asked Jenkins during Monday’s meeting how much funding the tax was expected to generate.

Jenkins said it was estimated, using 2004 occupancy room rates, to generate $23,000 to $25,000 annually.

Jenkins also noted this tax would be levied on the traveling public or those who utilize the accommodations.