SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah City Council approved a resolution to raise the city’s hotel/motel tax from 6 percent to 8 percent.
The tax is tacked on to a hotel bill when a visitor books a room in a hotel or motel in the city and is normally used strictly for tourism purposes. The hotel/motel tax resolution will now move to the Chatham County Delegation and onto the Governor’s desk for approval
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says this will ensure that Savannahians don’t have to foot the bill when it comes to city projects.
“This is an opportunity for us to raise money that our residents are not paying, to fund things, prescribed in state law, to help make their lives better,” Mayor Johnson said.
The resolution says about 34 percent of those funds will go to promotion, conventions and trade shows. About 15 percent will go to funding multi-million dollar projects like the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront, creating trails and sidewalks and other connections between the Historic District, westside neighborhoods, the new arena and more. 14 percent will go to conventions or state operated trade shows.
The new rate for the hotel/motel tax - if approved by the state - won’t go into effect until January 2022.
Council also voted on an agreement with the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Savannah to use funds from that tax to implement a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to attract minority visitors, highlight minority-owned businesses and historic sites.
Council also approved to move forward with the process to select a new city manager.
“This city in Savannah, needs a manager that can do these top issues of poverty reduction, income inequity, eradicating blight in this community. Especially and above all, reducing violence,” interim City Manager Michael Brown said.
City council hopes to nail down final candidates by June. Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter was not present for this vote.