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City Council to discuss new hotel tax, tourism district

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 10, 2014, at 12:19 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at 10:11 a.m.

The technology issues are ironed out, and Tuesday’s public hearing on the creation of a tourism business improvement district is a go at City Hall.

The special City Council meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the council chambers, 455 N. Main.

Mayor Carl Brewer and council members Lavonta Williams, James Clendenin and Jeff Blubaugh will participate in the public hearing via conference call, interacting with any members of the public who want to comment on the new tax for hotel bills. The four are taking part in the National League of Cities convention in Washington, D.C.

Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner will chair the meeting in Wichita, with council members Jeff Longwell and Janet Miller present.

On Jan. 14, the council approved taxing authority for Go Wichita, signing off on a 2.75 percent tax for all hotel bills – through a tourism business improvement district – to finance a $2.5 million annual marketing fund. That money also could be available to market city-owned events, council members said.

The revenue would go toward an enhanced marketing effort as Go Wichita ramps up plans to land national conventions, a growth area in the local tourism business targeted by a recent study. The tourism business improvement district was recommended by a committee established by the council in September.

Combined with taxes already in place – including community improvement districts that helped fund construction for some hotels – Wichita hotel customers could be looking at tax add-ons to their bills in excess of 10 percent. That rate is at or slightly below the tax rate for travelers in other Kansas cities, city officials said.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bwilsoneagle.

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