County lodging tax increased

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

By JIM MAURER - TIFFIN -- In a split vote, the Seneca County commissioners increased the county lodging excise tax charged by hotels and motels from 2 to 3 percent.

Commissioners Holly Stacy and Fred Zoeller voted in favor of the increase, while board President Jeff Wagner voted against it.

Stacy said the county needs the funds for marketing, and surrounding counties each have a 3 percent lodging tax.

Zoeller said the tax is paid by users of the hotels and motels, not by county residents, and the funds are designated for the chamber's visitor services area.

Wagner said whether it is a new tax or an increase in existing taxes, someone has to pay it.

"I think we are taxed enough," he said, a position he voiced last week during a discussion on the issue.

County Administrator Stacy Wilson presented a resolution for the increase to the commissioners. She contacted Rhonda Best in the county prosecutor's office and was told the resolution could be rescinded and the tax reduced if circumstances change in the future.

The increase will provide an extra $35,000 annually, said John Detwiler, president and chief executive officer of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Services. The funds will be used to promote the county, Detwiler said.

Damon Alt, county treasurer, and Mike Dell, county recorder, both requested additional funds for 2014 to provide pay increases for employees. Alt requested $30,000 and Dell about $19,000. Some of Dell's request was to cover retirement severance pay for an employee.

Alt presented comparable pay rates for six nearby counties which indicated workers in his office are paid less than in treasurer's offices elsewhere. Zoeller requested if any pay raises are approved for next year, he wants county departments to present the information for commissioners' consideration.

Maurer: 419-427-8420, Send an e-mail to Jim Maurer

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