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Ironton PUC to discuss raising municipal fee, hotel tax

The Public Utilities Committee of the Ironton City Council will meet at 6 p.m. tonight to discuss the city’s revenue streams and possible fee increases.

PUC Chairman Chuck O’Leary said he hopes one topic of conversation will be on a new hotel tax.

“I’m not sure if it will at this point,” he said.

The discussion about a hotel tax began at the Nov. 19 meeting when the council’s legal counsel, Mack Anderson, said that during a recent hotel stay in Dublin, there was an occupancy fee, with a six percent tax to the city and a four percent tax that went to county. He wondered that if there was something similar that Ironton could do, adding that many cities have a 6.5 or 7 percent tax.

There is a current hotel fee that is split between the city and the county, with the city getting about $20,000 a year.

Anderson said that if there is a 7 percent tax on the hotel, it could raise $255,000 from one hotel and with a second hotel being built, the amount could be around $.5 million.

Councilman Nate Kline said he has looked into that and found it confusing. He said he has referred it to the council’s other legal counsel, Brigham Anderson, to see how it works under the Ohio Revised Code.

O’Leary said there would be discussion about increasing the monthly municipal fee to $17.14, an increase of $3.14.

“That is kind of my baby, because a portion of that would go towards economic development,” O’Leary said, adding new businesses need to be brought into Ironton because “you can’t keep taxing yourself out of this situation.”

Another topic will be a monthly flood prevention fee of $5 and O’Leary said that is in anticipation of fixing the flood pumps. The city’s flood defense system is made up of 10 pump stations around Ironton. The system was built in 1946 and it is getting hard to find parts to repair machines when it breaks.

Other topics are stormwater fee increase, water fee increase and wastewater fee increase.

The fee increases are under debate and recent ordinances that deal with fee increases have been tabled until there is further discussion.

O’Leary said that they still haven’t set a date for a forum to discuss the city’s financial situation and fee increases with the public. He added it has been hard to set a date with the council member’s schedules. And he wants to know what fee increases ordinances the council is going with before they hold the forum.

The PUC meeting is open to the public and will be in council chambers on the third floor of the Ironton City Center.