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Morgan hotel/motel tax hike discussed

February 06, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Further discussions regarding a possible increase to the hotel/motel tax were heard at Thursday night's Morgan County Commission meeting.

Morgan County Parks and Recreation had requested the commission increase the tax from 3 percent to 6 percent, which would help it make repairs and maintain the ball fields and help fund new projects.

Stephanie Rebant, president of Travel Berkeley Springs, said because of bad economic times, it was not a good idea to increase the tax. She said costly changes would have to be made to update brochures and promotional material.

Rebant said before raising the tax, the commission should make sure the hotel/motel tax is being paid by all of the lodge owners.

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"Some people pay quarterly and some people are behind," Morgan County Commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said. "All those in arrears have been contacted."

Laura Breeden of the Morgan County tax office said Friday about eight lodge owners had not paid their 2008 taxes, which came to about $4,000.

Half of the hotel/motel tax goes to Travel Berkeley Springs and the other half goes to the county to distribute to various entities.

Nancy Sostaric, owner of The Country Inn, said Parks and Recreation should do fundraising instead of coming to the commission.

Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan, who is a board member of the organization, said a fundraiser will be held April 4 and they are "taking steps for more" to get ahead financially.

"We are still in the listening process," Hutchinson said. The discussion will resume Feb. 19, she said.

Kenny Mason, Parks and Recreation president, said he and acting director Bruce Beadenkopf will meet Feb. 18 with Travel Berkeley Springs, as Hutchinson suggested they do in the previous meeting.

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