Gilmer begins process to change hotel/motel tax

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GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – With the information made available in December 2021, and the decision to move forward made in January 2022, the Board of Commissioners officially approved a motion this month to authorize County Attorney David Clark to begin revisions to the Excise Tax on Rooms, Lodging’s and Accommodations Ordinance.

The motion comes with new information on the change as the final process begins for changing the tax. However, even that won’t be the final step as Clark said the Governor will need to sign this as well. With final county approval potentially occurring in June, Clark said that July 1, 2022, could likely be the actual change date of the tax depending on when the Governor signs. In January’s meeting, it was stated that the approval in the county’s meeting is for the resolution to be sent for approval in state legislation. This was included in the formal motion and approval of a change in the Hotel/Motel Tax came in January as the county was looking into the concept.

Going from five percent to eight percent and including tourism product development (TPD) Projects, this change is also bringing along a change in stay length. Clark reported to the board that Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sandi Holden noticed a change needed for the updated ordinance.

Currently, the ordinance applies to stays up to ten days, however, with changes in the state, Clark stated that stays up to 30 days can be considered “short term rentals.” The county will also be adding this change alongside the increase in percentage.

As for the application of these changes, Paris clarified in the county’s regular meeting after questioning the county attorney. Any rentals scheduled after July 1 will be subject to the new changes. This means that even reservations made before July will fall under the new changes if the stay occurs after the change date.

While the July 1 date is still currently an estimate due to potential delays either from the state or local governance or if the process delays with citizens input, the county only used that date as the assumption for the clarifications. The TPDs listed for the county to pursue in 2022 include Parks, Trails, Wayfinding Signage, and Recreation facilities. However, Clark estimated that with the collection beginning in July, it could be September before the county starts realizing that change in their financial reports. Meaning it could be fall before the county could begin working on those projects.

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