Council OKs hike to hotel tax

KINGMAN - The local hotel industry seemed to have accepted the inevitable Monday evening, with just one lone representative turning out to try - and fail - to convince the City Council not to finalize a 2-percent increase in the city hotel tax to pay for capital improvement projects.

Herberta Schroeder of the Hill Top Motel pleaded with Council not to enact the increase, arguing that her industry had already suffered enough in the current economy, and that an extra couple dollars added to a customer's bill could mean the difference between that customer deciding to stay in Kingman.

"I know that people don't believe me when I tell them that we actually get phone calls that say 'How much is your room rate for such-and-such dates?' and I give it to them," Schroeder said. "They say 'Is that with tax?' 'No,' and then I give them the tax rate, and they go 'Wow, that's a lot of tax!' And then they hang up."

Schroeder argued that, with Laughlin only 30 minutes out of town, there's nothing stopping tourists from staying there instead.

Carole Young, Keith Walker, Robin Gordon and Ray Lyons reiterated their support for the increase, agreeing that it remains the last, best way to raise money for capital improvements without passing the cost on to city residents.

Likewise, Mayor John Salem and Vice Mayor Janet Watson maintained their earlier position that now was not the time to raise anyone's taxes.

Lyons made the motion to approve the increase, with Walker seconding. The motion passed 4-3, with Salem, Watson and Deering opposed.

The new tax is set to take effect starting no earlier than Feb. 1, 2010, and is expected to bring in about $276,000 a year.