Warrensburg Missouri
Tourism Lodging Tax

Questions on the Issue
Posed to the Warrensburg Mayor, December 1997

Prepared 12/30/97
by Bill Wayne, 431 SE County Road Y, Warrensburg, MO 64093

Warrensburg City Council & Editor:

Since my bed & breakfast is outside the Warrensburg city limits, an increase in overnight stays as a result of tourism promotion using room tax money can only help my occupancy. My guests will continue to pay 5.725% while those staying in the city will pay from 10.225% to 12.225%, depending on the rate established. So, as the saying goes, whatever happens is 'no skin off my nose' - I won't collect it and can't vote on it and I don't currently belong to any group that may be involved in trying to spend it. However, that doesn't mean I can't draw from my 9 years experience in the tourism industry to form an opinion on it.

Back about 5 years ago, the County Commission set up a task force to investigate the possibility of imposing a county-wide tax; I was one of the lodging industry representatives on the panel. A rather extensive review of county-wide tourism assets was conducted; the conclusions and recommendations had a limited amount of specific detail. After the report was submitted, no action was taken by the County Commission, I suspect because nobody strongly pushed for further action. Interestingly, about the time this review was getting started, the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce eliminated its Tourism Committee.

The state law authorizing this tax requires the money to be spent to develop & promote tourism. This is fairly general and gives quite a bit of leeway to the local Convention and Visitor's Bureau (the Chamber of Commerce in this case).

With this background in mind, I want to identify the questions various groups need to ask about this tax and the funds expected to be generated by it:

Lodging owners need to know:

Voters will need to know exactly how the money is to be spent:

In light of the recent experience of Mr. Jim Davis of Merced, CA, as reported in his letter printed in various local papers, I would hope that the City Council will make sure that answers to these questions are available before placing the issue on the ballot.

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