City discusses resolution for additional lodging tax

Published 12:51 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018


NATCHEZ — City leaders discussed Tuesday the proposition of adding a 1.5-percent hotel tax on top of the other lodging taxes already in place.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the proposed tax would be an additional revenue stream that could go toward improving public safety and infrastructure. He pointed out that revenues from the current 3-percent lodging tax and $2 “head-on-beds” taxes could not be used toward those ends because they are dedicated to tourism purposes.

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City Attorney Bob Latham said based on estimates of 2017 lodging tax-generated revenues, the new tax would bring in approximately $256,000 in additional revenue. Even if a bill were passed allowing for the additional taxation, enacting the tax, Latham said, would require public approval via a referendum.

He added that the bill would not affect other tax rates already in place.

“This would be a stand-alone bill,” Latham said. “It won’t affect the other bills that apply to taxes, whether it be food or lodging or heads on beds.”

Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith wanted to get more information to ensure that no other tax was at risk of being affected.

Subsequently, Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis asked if the additional 1.5-percent tax was feasible, as she had thought the city had already reached its cap on lodging taxes. Neither Latham nor Grennell knew of any such restriction, but the aldermen wanted to err on the side of caution and further research the matter.

Grennell deferred the request to approve a resolution for the tax until a more concrete determination could be made about any potential risk of the tax.