The Montgomery City Council has delayed voting on an ordinance to increase the city’s lodging tax.

The proposed ordinance would add a $3 per night, per room charge to the city’s 11% lodging tax paid by patrons of Montgomery motels and hotels to “fund sports and entertainment recruitment and development, tourism, and infrastructure.”

“We can earmark this money into the budget for sports and entertainment recruitment, development and tourism so when we get these requests for these things like when we talk about how far we’re behind on Lagoon Park and the renovations because we don’t have the funding,” Cornelius Calhoun, City Councillor Vice President representing District 5, said at the Tuesday night meeting.

The proposal was tabled Tuesday evening until the next council meeting in two weeks.

According to city code, 8.5% of Montgomery’s lodging tax goes to “funding city tourism and economic development,” and the remaining 2.5% goes to funding “financing, construction, acquisition, development, operation, management, maintenance, or equipping of a minor league baseball stadium, an expansion to the city civic center, or a hotel adjacent to such civic center.”

Revenue from the lodging tax was up about 33% year-over-year from approximately $959,000 in October 2022 to approximately $1.28 million in October 2023, according to a financial report by city officials at the Tuesday night meeting.

Mindy Hanan, President and CEO of the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association, told 1819 News on Wednesday that some of the members of her association have concerns about the proposal.

“We would not necessarily be for raising the lodging tax,” Hanan said. “One of the things they did show at the meeting was that lodging tax collections just in the first month of the fiscal year were up over 30%, so there may already be money available to do the things that they want to do. We just need to kind of look at that and then also if they do want to raise the lodging tax … have some accountability built into that as to how the money is spent and those types of things.”

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