Loudon could soon enact a hotel occupancy tax within the city limits.
Loudon City Council discussed the tax during a Monday workshop. A first and second reading follows at the August and September meetings.
“This was mainly available at the General Assembly at the option of really every municipality in the state,” Ty Ross, city manager, said. “With hotels/motels within this jurisdiction, this council brought it up as a desire to activate that here locally and we consulted with (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) and they recommended this legislation for you to consider. It is at a 4% level as was discussed previously at a workshop. If you choose to enact this the city of Loudon will begin collecting hotel/motel tax.”
After the workshop, Ross pointed to House Bill 1515, which revises provisions governing the levying of a hotel occupancy tax.
“Hotel” includes any structure or space designed for occupancy by transients such as hotels, inns, tourist camps, tourist cabins, motels and short-term rental units.
Jeff Harris, Loudon mayor, said the tax would apply to recreational vehicle campsites and campgrounds.
“This is just a window of opportunity to do it,” Harris said. “Hadn’t been able to do — and I think this just applies to those municipalities that hadn’t done it in the past, so this is a just to enact it.”
If passed, the tax could go into effect in October, Kris Frye, city attorney said.
“We’ll finalize that when we get this on the agenda,” Frye said. “Obviously, we need to line that up exactly with when we have all the procedures in place to collect that revenue.”
Harris sees the potential to promote and develop tourism.
“That’s where the funds need to be used, and I think Loudon has a lot to offer,” Harris said after the workshop. “We just need to attract people in here. I think our hotel, we don’t have as many hotels as Lenoir City does, but the main one we have down here, La Quinta Inn, they fully support it. I’ve talked to the owners there and he’s all about the tax as long as it’s used for tourism development and promoting tourism. That’s what we intend to do with it. I think the funds could come in really handy for promoting Loudon and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”