Collegedale Commission Sorting Out Hotel/Motel Tax

Monday, May 5, 2014 - by Gail Perry

Collegedale city commissioners are making preparations for the time a hotel is built in the city limits. An ordinance was recently approved that established a hotel/motel tax. The state of Tennessee allows a municipality to add a five percent occupancy tax to any rental of less than 30 days. That is the rate adopted in Collegedale’s ordinance.

At the commission meeting Monday night Vice Mayor Tim Johnson said he would like for Collegedale to be consistent with the rates charged by Chattanooga and Hamilton County which was believed to be five percent when the ordinance passed but is now known to be four percent.

It has also come to the attention of Vice Mayor Johnson that the trustee is paid one percent to collect the tax. It was unknown at the meeting if four percent on the tax form means that the charge is a five percent tax with four actually being collected after paying the trustee’s fee, or if the city and county end up receiving just three percent. Both attorney Sam Elliott and City Manager Ted Rogers said they would clarify the matter before the next commission meeting.

Currently only Southern Adventist University, bed and breakfasts scattered around the city and a few rental houses fall under this law.

On second and final reading, the commission voted to continue the same formula used in the past to determine compensation for Collegedale’s City Judge Kevin Wilson. That plan adds five percent yearly to his salary.

Discussion also took place concerning a property in the city that the owner fails to maintain the lawn. Codes Enforcer Andrew Morkert said it had already been addressed. He said if the owner does not respond to a notice the city will cut the grass and put a lien on the property for that amount. The vice mayor made the suggestion of adding a fine for each violation. Attorney Elliott said the owner could be cited to city court and the judge could issue a fine. In the case of a rental property, the owner is held responsible.

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