Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle informed City Council Friday morning that he vetoed the 1 percent lodging tax that the Council approved 3-2 Thursday night to fund the City’s new amphitheater at MidCity District.
Huntsville lodging tax currently stands at 15 percent. The 1 percent increase would have affected both hotel rooms and Airbnbs.
In a message to Council, Battle outlined his reasons as follows:
- The City of Huntsville has a solid financial model to pay for the amphitheater as presented when the architectural contract was approved.
- This lodging tax increase puts the City of Huntsville at a disadvantage in competing for travel, tourism and conventions.
- The tax is not needed- we have a balanced budget.
- Hitting the hotel/motel industry with an additional tax amid the COVID-19 virus exacerbates the financial burden on the hospitality Industry, a critical sector of our economy.
- There is no plan for additional funding. All projects in the Capital Improvements Plan have been identified and budgeted.
“We all have the same desire — to do what is best for our community,” explained Battle. “Passing a tax just to have future dollars to spend without designation is not right. The people who earn the tax dollars that are paid to the City of Huntsville work very hard, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. They trust us to spend their resources conservatively.”
“We all have the same goals, just different ways of achieving them,” he concluded.