Vermilion

Dec 6, 2011 11:02 PM by Shawn Kline

Abbeville Council to talk with lawmakers about hotel-motel tax

A heated debate erupts in Abbeville's council chambers; whether to keep or reject a three-percent tax on hotels, motels and campgrounds.

The tax currently benefits non-profit youth groups but managers of those accommodations say every time you spend the night in Vermilion Parish, it's going to cost a little more.

"People outside the City of Abbeville aren't having to charge that much tax on RV parks." Abbeville RV Park's Arlene White says, "but I am."

In fact, White says Abbeville RV Park has to charge about three-percent more in taxes. That's because a special tax is put on the shoulders of hotels, motels and campgrounds in the parish to help fund non-profits and youth groups but that tax is sparking a debate in Abbeville.

"Why should I share all of the Abbeville tax dollars that are generated here with all these other communities?" Mayor Mark Piazza says, "(The City is) getting such a small portion of this tax."

Mayor Piazza says most hotels in the parish are in the City of Abbeville but the city only received about 30-percent of the $300,000 the tax has raised since 2006.

However, council didn't vote to repeal the tax (or to keep it).

"What I'm trying to say is let's compromise." Councilman Francis Touchet suggested, "lets not just take away from the youth."

Councilman Touchet says the tax goes to good use but he says he's open to try another way. Touchet's appeal convinced council to instead of repeal or keep the tax, talk with area law-makers in charge of writing the tax.

"It's poorly written legislation," Mayor Piazza said.

Piazza says the law as it is written, does not give municipalities much freedom in choosing which non-profits are benefited by such a tax.

Council unanimously agreed to send this tax back lawmakers to be discussed in the next legislative session.

 

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