Gulf Shores City Council defers lodging tax increase vote to Dec. 13

By Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 12/1/21

Gulf Shores City Council was set to vote on the 2022 budget and lodging tax increase during the Nov. 22 regular council meeting but deferred both until Dec. 13.

“We had scheduled to take …

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Gulf Shores City Council defers lodging tax increase vote to Dec. 13

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Gulf Shores City Council was set to vote on the 2022 budget and lodging tax increase during the Nov. 22 regular council meeting but deferred both until Dec. 13.

“We had scheduled to take action today on the lodging tax and also looking at approving our 2022 budget, but we have deferred that, and we will be voting on that Dec. 13 which is the last council meeting of the year,” said Mayor Robert Craft.

A special council meeting to discuss the lodging tax increase was held Nov. 29. The meeting was open to the public and served as an additional opportunity for residents and local business owners to learn more about the proposed 3% lodging tax increase and provide feedback to city leaders. Residents will also have an opportunity to ask questions during the open discussion session of the Dec. 6 city council work session.

Gulf Shores is considering an increase in the city’s lodging tax to fund critical transportation, public safety, park and recreation, and school improvements proposed in the 2022 budget’s 10-year capital improvement plan.

Gulf Shores has experienced exponential growth in the tourism and full-time resident population over the last 10 years. City officials say this growth has placed significant strain on the existing transportation network, public safety resources and quality of life for residents. The city council has several capital improvement projects planned over the next 10 years to expand transportation capacity and connectivity, bolster public safety and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors.

The current lodging tax in Gulf Shores is 7% which is combined with a county lodging tax of 2% and state lodging tax of 4% for an overall rate of 13%. City officials used lodging tax rates in Mobile (14%), Huntsville (14% plus $2 per night), Tuscaloosa (15%) and Birmingham (17.5% plus $3 per night) as a comparison. The proposed 3% increase would bump the municipal lodging tax to 10% bringing the new lodging tax up to 16%.

The city increased the lodging tax by 2% in 2018 to provide funding for several projects that included the Coastal Gateway Boulevard capacity improvement, new Medical Village road and signalization improvements, Beach Boulevard capacity improvements and County Road 6 intersection improvements. The projects totaled $25.6 million yet the 2018 lodging tax has only generated $11.2 million since it was implemented.

 Residents are encouraged to attend the city council meetings to learn more about the proposed lodging tax increase, what the funds will be used for and to voice any concerns or questions.

“There will be a lot of opportunities to get everybody back in the room and listen to all concerns and comments before any decision is made,” Craft said.

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