Aiken City Councilman pushing for repeal of Hospitality Tax, worries passing of CSPT IIII could be impacted

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AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – An Aiken City Councilman is pushing to eliminate the Hospitality Tax.

The Hospitality Tax funds tourism-related city expenses.

Councilman Dick Dewar fears that not repealing the Hospitality Tax will end in the failure of Capital Project Sales Tax IIII.

CPST IIII will go before voters in November and it’s essential it gets passed, in order to fund big-ticket projects in Aiken.

Maintaining Aiken’s historic parkways, upgrading signage Downtown and even repairs to the Odell Weeks Center have been funded through the Hospitality Tax.

“I think they’ve done quite a few good things with it,” said Aiken resident Tom Finley.

Revenue is generated through the purchase of meals and drinks prepared and sold within the city limits.

According to the city the one-cent tax has collected more than $1.2 million dollars a year, since it was enacted in June of 2015.

“I think this year, the last number I heard, was $1.4 million maybe $1.5 million.” Councilman Dick Dewar told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

However, now there’s talk about terminating the tax.

“You said that you think it is worth keeping, the Hospitality Tax?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Yes, I think so.” Finely told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

“A lot of people are angry with the Hospitality Tax,” Dewar said.

Councilman Dewar has opposed the one-cent tax since the beginning.

“A $50 dollar food bill [with] the Hospitality Tax is 50 cents,” Dewar told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it has concerned a lot of people.”

Dewar worries that people will vote down the next round of Capital Project Sales Tax, because city leaders passed the Hospitality Tax in 2015. Dewar says the Hospitality Tax was originally eliminated with the passing of Capital Project Sales Tax I.

“Right now it’s 9 percent if you go out to have a meal, and if CPST IIII passes it’ll still be 9 percent. If the Hospitality Tax is repealed then it will be 8 percent.” Dewar said.

Dewar says if the Hospitality Tax is eliminated, the city could potentially generate more revenue from the next round of Capital Project Sales Tax.

The first reading of the ordinance, to repeal the Hospitality Tax, is going before council on Monday. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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