You know when you stay at a hotel, you end up getting stuck paying taxes on the room.
Did you know that those taxes are what the City uses to pay for things like the upkeep of the American Bank Center?
However, a number of hotels, motels and bed and breakfast hot spots have not turned over that money to the City.
Out of our 88 hotel businesses in town, there are nine who have not sent in all of the tax dollars they have collected from their guests, who had to pay the money before they could get a room.
The Travelodge on Corn Products Road tops the City's list of hotels which are behind. The nine hotels owe the city some $199,000 in sales tax monies, and the Travelodge owes 54-percent of that total.
When asked why this was the case, Gary Karkhanis, general manager of Travelodge, said it is "because of the bad economy."
"We have been going through some difficult times," Karkhanis said. "But this is a situation we are aware of and we will be taking care of this situation in the next thirty days."
"For the most part, everyone is very cooperative once they realize," City Finance Director Constance Sanchez said. "Perhaps it was a change in bookkeeping, or an oversight. Some hotels change property owners and they don't realize the taxes weren't paid."
The city has Muniservices to takeover the job of playing watchdog over the hotels. The company will be paid $22,000 a year to do that job, plus another $14,000 for eight audits each year of all the hotel sales figures.
The City and the company will meet with hotel owners and managers at City Hall on Monday to talk about the big change.
Muniservices takes over the program and the collections part of the job beginning in November.
The City is set to receive about $11.9 million this year in hotel sales tax dollars, and it is hoped that Muniservices will make sure the City gets the money it's owed.
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