SHEFFIELD — The Sheffield Village Council unanimously approved an additional lodging tax at a special meeting Wednesday.
The 3 percent lodging tax from hotels and other similar businesses in the area will be in addition to the 3 percent currently levied, bringing the total to 6 percent. The additional revenue is estimated at $80,000 annually, and will be directed to the newly established economic development and tourism fund.
The legislation, Mayor John Hunter said, should help greatly with the village’s development. Hunter said tourists should be helping more with the village, rather than taxing village residents.
“They’re driving on our streets, they’re driving on our roads and they’re driving on other places in the village and they’re using the hotels in the village so (we should) get that revenue and use it for economic development.
Hunter said the village had the lowest tax rates in Lorain County and he wanted to keep it that way. As of now, there is only one hotel in the area — the Homewood Suites by Hilton Cleveland/Sheffield — but another hotel is being built.
Avon raised its tourism tax increase 3 percent in 2014, but after a three-year legal battle, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, which left lower court rulings in place that declared the tax illegal.
State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, who represents Huron and Lorain counties, introduced a provision into the Ohio budget in July that would help the village use the tax ordinance.
The addition, Hunter said, allowed municipalities in a county of more than 300,000 to increase their bed tax from 3 percent to 6 percent for economic development and tourism. The addition was put into effect Oct. 1 and the window to act on it was by next Sunday. After calling Manning to make sure this was fine locally and verifying it with village Law Director Thomas Smith, Hunter said he decided to move forward with the ordinance.
Within the area of economic development, Hunter hopes to use the revenue to improve the village service department, which is at capacity, and to build a new police or fire department in the future.
The village treasurer will send a notice to the hotels in the village, notifying them that the action was taken. The village will start collecting the tax Jan. 14 after it goes into effect Monday. The first disbursement to the fund will be Jan. 25.
“This is not going to wages: It’s going to the infrastructure and going to what we can do to best service and give service to the people,” Hunter said.