Hotel tax slated for November ballot

mustang-watertower

By Traci Chapman

Mustang voters in November will consider a five percent motel tax, which officials say could bring needed funds into city coffers – without costing residents a penny.

The measure will be brought to a vote in the Nov. 4 general election, after City Council voted to present the measure to residents. If passed, the tax would be levied only on motels and hotels located within Mustang city limits, an industry officials said they are actively pursuing.

“We have the armory, the healthplex, we have developers seeing a need and wanting to locate here in Mustang,” Mayor Jay Adams said. “This is more an issue it’s coming, rather than something that would bring hotels here.”

With just one, small and outdated motel situated inside Mustang city limits, groups and individuals are forced to seek lodging in Yukon or Oklahoma City. As more and more events are held in the city’s expanding amenities and with a planned December completion of St. Anthony’s healthplex, among others, it is a matter of when – not if – new hotels would be built in Mustang, City Manager Tim Rooney said.

“We have these ball tournaments – people are staying in Yukon, buying dinner in Yukon,” Rooney said. “We need to get these people to stay in Mustang.”

Most communities have implemented lodging taxes, including Yukon and El Reno, both located along Interstate 40.

“I travel a lot in my day job, and I have not stayed at a hotel where I have not paid this tax,” Ward 1 Councilman Matthew Taylor said.

The tax would be solely charged on room sales, which means the implementation would not adversely affect residents’ wallets, officials said. The construction of even one hotel in Mustang city limits could mean “significant” funds for needed projects, repairs or other items not currently attainable with existing revenues, the city manager said.

“One hotel could bring in as much as $5,400 a month in revenue,” Rooney said. “Proceeds wouldn’t need to be earmarked, so council could decide annually how funds are spent.”

Mustang voters have considered – and rejected – a motel tax three times, Rooney said. He believed those failures were at least partially due to residents’ misunderstanding of the tax, he said.

“I will go out and address every group, speak to anyone who wants to know about this, to provide the information people need,” the city manager said.