Mills County Lodging Tax Passes With Low Voter Turnout
Ballots were canvassed Tuesday for the the March 7 special election in unincorporated areas of Mills County regarding a 7% lodging tax.
The tax was approved by voters by a lopsided margin of 163-33 (83 percent “Yes” vote).
The measure was passed with less than 4 percent of eligible voters participating in the election.
As a result of the election, hotel, motel and airbnb stays in unincorporated areas of the county will become subject to a 7% tax beginning July 1.
The election took place at the request of a developer who’s interested in building a hotel west of the I-29/Highway 34 interchange.
In an interview with The Opinion-Tribune in February, Mills County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Andrew Rainbolt said the use of lodging tax revenue to help hotel developers offset start-up costs is a common practice to generate tourism.
“Essentially, the state law says you have to use up to 50 percent of your hotel tax revenue to build, maintain and promote tourist activities in your jurisdiction,” he said. “The revenue that is generated off the hotel for a few years, we’ll kick back a portion of that to the hotel to help get them going. That will kind of ratchet down over time.”
Now that the tax has passed, the developer and Mills County Board of Supervisors are expected to work out details of a deal in the coming weeks.
“Andrew has probably gone back to him with the information, ‘Yes, it passed,’ and then I assume we’ll probably start seeing something here soon,” Mills County Auditor Carol Robertson said. “I haven’t heard anything from Andrew since the election, but I assume he will go back to the drawing board with the developer to see if he’s ready to proceed and what all else he is wanting.”