Board rejects lodging tax
by Larry Chowning
On Tuesday the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors dropped consideration of enacting a 2% county-wide lodging tax.
Board chair Carlton Revere requested a motion to hold a public hearing on a proposed transient lodging tax ordinance, but no board member came forth with such a motion or even commented on the proposed tax.
Earlier in the meeting, attorney Tim Trout of the Kaufman & Canoles law firm, spoke on behalf of county campground owner Walt Hurley. Trout said the majority of the lodging tax collected would be paid by Hurley, and he was already paying “a lot of tax.”
Hal Muller of Kilmers Point said he was in favor of a lodging tax. He said that he traveled a great deal on business and paid the lodging tax most everywhere he went. “It was just part of everyday business,” he said. “I don’t think a 2% tax on lodging will run business away.”
Later in the meeting, the courtroom was packed with supporters of the campgrounds that did not want a lodging tax.
If the referendum is approved and a county meals tax is set at 4%, an estimated $300,000 in revenue would be generated, said county administrator Walker.
The Town of Urbanna currently has a 5% meals tax that generates over $80,000 annually.
This will be the fourth time in recent years that a proposed county meals tax referendum has been on the ballot. All three previous times—in 1999, 2005 and 2010—Middlesex voters soundly defeated the meals tax referendum.
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