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Social Circle considers hotel/motel tax

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Social Circle is poised to implement a 5-percent hotel/motel tax.

City Manager Doug White presented a proposed ordinance to the City Council during its monthly meeting Tuesday that would impose a tax on the rental of any room in a hotel, motel or inn within the city limits.

"We have no hotel/motel tax now, but it's good idea to put one in place," White said.

He said the tax would not necessarily bring revenue now, but instead would be an economic development tool when other hoteliers locate in the area.

"As the community grows and more (hotels) come in, it's good to get (the tax) in place to start an economic development fund," White said.

White said only one motel operates in Social Circle. The Welcome Inn, located on Ga. Highway 11 across from Social Circle Ace Hardware, is a small motel and the tax would not generate much revenue from that facility.

White said he did not believe imposing a hotel/motel tax would deter any lodging companies from locating to Social Circle.

"Not at all. Most cities of any size already have it, and it is generally used to fund chamber (of commerce) activities in those areas," he said.

According to the Georgia Municipal Association's Web site, the GMA has assisted more than 40 cities interested in implementing the hotel/motel tax.

White said the 5-percent tax would go to a fund to be used by Social Circle Better Hometown, which is a city program dedicated to develop and revitalize the downtown area.

City attorney Joe Reitman said Social Circle's hotel/motel tax ordinance would mirror the one in the city of Madison.

The City Council treated White's presentation of the proposed ordinance Tuesday as the first reading of the new tax. The council is expected to hold the second reading of the ordinance and vote on the measure May 18.