City approves 4 percent tax on motel stays
In an effort to capture dollars from tourists who visit the area, Tonganoxie City Council members Monday night approved a tax on stays in hotel and motel rooms.
Anyone who stays in a local hotel or motel would pay a 4 percent tax, called a transient guest tax. That money would be paid to the state and then returned to the city of Tonganoxie. It would be used for economic development and tourism promotion purposes, according to City Administrator Chris Clark.
The tax will take effect in about two months provided no one submits a protest petition. If that occurs, a vote would be conducted on the tax.
City officials have said they would like to capture some dollars that are anticipated to come Tonganoxie's way with the opening later this year of the Kansas Speedway in western Wyandotte County.
The success or failure of the guest tax, from the city's standpoint, won't be clear for some time.
"This is going to be contingent on whether we get a decent size of hotel that comes into the city," Clark said.
The transient guest tax ordinance that council members approved Monday also establishes an Economic Development and Tourism Council, which would make recommendations to the city council on how to spend funds the tax generates. Members of the council would be the mayor, the city administrator, the president of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce and up to three more members approved by the city council.
The ordinance also says that the money from the guest tax can be spent only on:
Economic development promotion, including convention and tourism promotion.
Operation, maintenance, expansion and development of city facilities connected with convention or tourism.
To pay bonds issued to construct convention or community centers, parks or recreation facilities that may be used in connection with conventions or tourism.
To purchase property or make infrastructure improvements on property that would be sold for business purposes.
The cost of providing municipal services to convention and tourism functions, such as police, fire and streets.