Riverfront act goes into effect today

Published 12:16 am Sunday, July 1, 2007

VIDALIA β€” Beginning today, the Vidalia Riverfront is its own political subdivision within the State of Louisiana.

In practical terms, that means the Vidalia Riverfront Development District can levy a hotel occupancy tax.

Act 54, drafted by State Rep. Andy Anders and signed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco June 18, becomes effective Sunday.

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One of the key provisions in Act 54 is a clause that limits the district to only being able to levy the hotel occupancy tax and no other taxes.

The tax will only affect hotels within the riverfront district, and includes overnight camping facilities.

Lodging facilities with fewer than two rooms for rent are excluded from the tax.

The purpose of the hotel occupancy tax, per Act 54, will be for funding the Vidalia Gateway Center including for the purposes of construction, equipment, operation, maintenance, support and other related costs.

The act specifies the tax will not exceed 6 percent of the total cost of lodging, and will be in addition to any other taxes paid at the time services are rendered.

Natchez has a similar 3 percent tourism tax.

The riverfront district being a political subdivision of the state does not mean it is its own municipality, Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

β€œIt is still Vidalia,” he said.