Hotel/Motel Tax receives final approval with start date change

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – A topic that that began last December when the Board of Commissioners heard options of potentially raising the county’s Hotel/Motel Tax will see its final stages of adoption in the next 30 days before the start date.

June saw the final adoption of the change and implementation will move forward with a ratification of the contract, implementing the Chambers change in percentage, and the actual start date of the tax change. To that end, County Attorney David Clark noted that there may be a Special Called Meeting to formally ratify that before the start date.

In January 2022, the official motion and approval came to begin a change in the Hotel/Motel Tax from five percent to eight percent and included tourism product development (TPD) Projects. Then, in April 2022, when t he county began advertising the change, another change was introduced as Clark stated that stays up to 30 days can be considered “short term rentals.”

The Commissioners held discussion this month, June 2022, during their Regular Meeting as to the official start date. Since last month, that date has been set to July 1, 2022. However, discussion upon the wording in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), and its reference to earliest implementation being the second month following adoption. the county questioned whether to postpone the start date to August to be sure.

Post Commissioner Hubert Parker questioned the postponement saying that he felt like the county might be confusing or causing issues with changing the dates again. The date was at one point discussed at August as was a segmented start date revolving around reservation times versus the actual date of stay but this changed to July last month after cabin owners pushed for a single hard start date and said they were agreeable to July.

Now, as commissioners discussed the OCGA wording, Commission Chairman Charlie Paris said that he would prefer August just to be absolutely sure the comply with the code. Advice from attorney Clark said that he felt July would be in compliance, but also agreed that August would be the safer option as he has seen litigation over minute wordings.

Parker said that since the July 1 start date hasn’t passed, he felt they wouldn’t cause major harm with the change and so he “could live with it.”

Official motion came from Chairman Paris to approve the final adoption of the Hotel/Motel Tax increase on August 1, 2022. The county is still likely to hold a special meeting for the ratification of the contract but official adoption has been approved and is in motion with a concrete date.

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