Alabaster sets public hearing to consider doubling lodging tax

By Emily Reed/Special to the Reporter 

The City of Alabaster is planning to double its lodging tax rate to generate additional funds for public safety.

The City Council voted on Monday to hold a public hearing Feb. 27 during its regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Alabaster City Hall.

The proposed ordinance will raise the lodging tax to 6 percent from the current rate of 3 percent that has been in place for many years, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon said.

“The city has never had a lot of hotels, so it has never been a huge source of revenue,” Handlon said. “The three percent rate has been in place for a long time, and we are wanting to match our sister cities that have lodging rates of six percent.”

In April 2016, the City of Pelham raised its lodging tax to use the increased revenue to support general operations of the city, the Pelham Commercial Development Authority and the employment of an economic development authority.

Handlon said she does not estimate the tax will generate more than $50,000 each year, but the money will be earmarked for the city’s public safety capital expenditures.

“We are constantly trying to figure out ways to fund the ongoing needs of public safety,” Handlon said. “That is something you do not ever catch up on in terms of funds. It is a constant need. The thought of increasing the lodging tax is that it is not on our residents, but people that are just traveling through.”

According to the proposed ordinance, the tax would apply to any firm, corporation or other entity engaged in the business of renting or furnishing any rooms, lodging or accommodations to transients in any hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast, tourist camp, tourist cabin or any other place in which rooms, lodgings or accommodations are regularly furnished to transients.

After the public hearing, the City Council will likely vote on the matter the same night.