Those who stay at the Garner Inn and Suites in Garner may see a slight increase in their hotel bill, but that difference will make a large difference in how residents and the city itself will benefit from it. The voters in Garner will be asked if the hotel can begin to charge a hotel-motel tax on guests at 7%.
The city and the hotel agreed not to implement the hotel-motel tax on guests in 2012. That agreement was for five years. Now, both the city and the ownership of the hotel want the tax from guests after the agreement expires on April 24th. Garner Inns and Suites owner Deb Schmidt says her guests are in favor of the tax.
The Code of Iowa allows cities to impose a guest tax of up to 7%. By law, half of the revenue from the tax must be used for building, maintaining and operating recreational, conventional, cultural, entertainment facilities, or the promotion of tourism and convention business in the city and surrounding areas. The Garner Chamber is asking that 60% of the revenue go to the Chamber and the rest to the city. Schmidt says that this is an excellent revenue disbursement system, because it can do nothing, but promote and build Garner.
The projected revenue stream from the guest tax is expected to be nearly $40,000. The reason is because the hotel sees a large number of room bookings throughout the year. Schmidt has come out and said that she is in absolute favor of the tax because the money would be very beneficial to the city and to tourism. Right now, she sees a large variety of guests check in which in turn means a large, and much needed revenue stream for tourism promotion.
Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 2 from 12pm to 8pm. A simple 51% majority is needed for passage.