Naples city leaders support bed tax increase
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Feb. 6, 2013
NAPLES, Fla.-You may have to cough up more cash to stay the night in Naples. City leaders are supporting a proposed tourist tax hike.
Wednesday tourism officials went before city council asking them to approve a one percent bed tax increase. But council's big question? Where's the money going? The main concern is the beach.
The proposal would raise taxes at hotels and short-term rentals from 4 to 5 percent.
While it doesn't sound like much, tourism directors said that one percent would bring in an estimated 40 million dollars every year.
There's been a big of tug of war about how it'd be spent. Tourism directors said to bring people to Naples, you've got to sell the city and want to spend more on marketing.
But, according to council members, the area speaks for itself and only agreed if 20 percent would go to improving beaches.
Then, there's the local hotel managers who want nothing to do with an increase. They say the lower rate gives an advantage over surrounding areas.
Collier County Tourism Director Jack Wert said that won't happen.
"I think the majority of our visitors don't ask what the tax is and on an average rate of $250 a night, $2.50 isn't going to make a difference whether they come here or not." Wert said.
Council will send a letter supporting the increase to the Board of County Commissioners who will make the ultimate decision. It'll take up the issue at it's meeting on February 26Th.