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Clay Increasing Occupancy Tax After Advice From Consultants

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Clay Increasing Occupancy Tax After Advice From Consultants

Clay County will increase its hotel occupancy tax by 1.5 percent as the county searches for ways to maximize revenue.

Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan said the tax was set at 2.5 percent in 2009. Reagan said he projects that the increase to four percent will generate an additional $70,000 a year for the county. Reagan said the county brought in revenue consultants last year to look for new streams of money.

“That was one of the things that they had encouraged us to look at, and we were one of the few counties if not the only county, that had the 2.5 percent, which was the least one across the state, so the commissioners voted to increase that,” Reagan said.

Reagan said the state passed a new occupancy tax law in 2021 that simplifies the process of making a move like this, further motivating the county to make the increase.

Reagan said this is a measure to avoid burdening taxpayers. Reagan said the county will use the extra revenue for advertisements to encourage tourists to stay in Clay County.

“I call it a privilege tax,” Reagan said. “It’s a tax that is put onto, whether you’re renting a motel room, or, around here, a cabin, houseboat rentals, or anything that would require you to have an overnight stay,” Reagan said.

Reagan said the increase in 2009 had to be done as a private act, a longer and more complicated process that the county was able to avoid this time around.

Reagan said increased tourism and a higher tax on their overnight stays is a source of funding that does not hurt Clay County residents.

“We’re blessed to live in an area that we do, but there is challenges out there, “Reagan said. “Lord be our helper, we’re going to face them and we’re going to continue to go forward.”


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