Bed tax topic at Columbiana Council

COLUMBIANA – A suggestion to institute a bed tax that would generate money for the city and its Tourism Bureau has not been forgotten, but Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell said it should be revised, if the city opts to implement it.

Blasdell said he spoke with David Barbee, co-chair of the Chamber’s Business Development Committee, and they agreed that implementing a 3 percent tax wouldn’t be enough to benefit the bureau, a 501(c)3 non-profit originally established by the Chamber in 2010.

Barbee had presented the suggestion to council in February on behalf of the Chamber and said at that time the idea was to “think ahead” and implement a tax before someone else does on future developments.

The tax would assess a percentage fee for overnight hotel guests, and the city would share those tax revenues with the tourism bureau, which would use the money toward promoting annual events regularly funded by the Chamber and community sponsors.

The city’s portion would go into the general fund.

Currently, the only establishment that would potentially meet the bed tax criteria is the Dutch Haus, which Blasdell said is already paying an excise lodging tax to Mahoning County.

He added that a 3 percent bed tax would benefit the city, but not the Chamber.

“Our intention is to benefit the community and certainly the Chamber if we possibly can, but we feel we are limited on that particular issue,” he said.

Terry McCoy, a member of the tourism bureau, said whether the Chamber receives anything from the tax is “immaterial” but that the goal is to establish something before the township does on planned developments.

The matter was not discussed any further.

Council did act on the following matters, which were approved:

– Two sodium chloride/rock salt contracts through the Ohio Department of Transportation, with one being for summer fill and the other for winter use. The summer contract runs from May 8 to Oct. 31 and the winter contract runs from Nov. 1 through May 31, 2015. The cost of the material has not yet been determined, City Manager Lance Willard said.

– First readings of legislation allowing the city to participate in a local public agency bridge inspection program through the Ohio Department of Transportation, at no cost to the city, contracting with Mercer Lime and Stone Company of Slippery Rock, Pa., for the purchase of lime for the water plant at a cost of $148 per ton for a minimum of 18 tons, contracting with Lyden Oil Co. of Youngstown for the purchase of gasoline and diesel fuel, and contracting with Dunbar Asphalt Products of Wheatland, Pa., for the purchase of asphalt at a cost of $59.50 and $49.50 per ton for two different kinds of material.