The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Opinion

July 15, 2013

Bed tax can bring people, money to county and help us expand

Our Views

TARBORO — The passage of a bed tax for Edgecombe County is, we believe, good news.

While we understand there are those who feel such a tax is a negative and will cause travelers to stay elsewhere.

We say bunk.

If someone is going to stay in a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast in any county surrounding Edgecombe, they are going to pay an occupancy tax. Halifax and Nash levy a 5 percent tax, Martin and Wilson levy a 3 percent tax, and Pitt levies a 6 percent tax.

And likewise, when you’re planning a trip, we’ll bet you don’t look for places with or without bed taxes and plan your trip accordingly. You just go and pay your lodging bill.

The key to the success of this new revenue stream is to not plan how to spend every cent before they are generated.

We’ve already heard the comment, “We can finally hire someone to promote the town,” and, while we realize the four lodging facilities are in Tarboro, it’s not a revenue stream designed to benefit Tarboro, but rather the county.

As Assistant County Manager Erik Evans said for a story in this newspaper, the hiring of a tourism director is a long way off.

That, in part, is because the revenues generated by the tax will be limited. A 2008 North Carolina State University study in 2008 projected that a 3 percent occupancy tax would generate an annual $46,708.32 in revenue, based on 160 rooms in Edgecombe County, an average daily rate of $62 per room and an occupancy rate of 43 percent. The county currently has an estimated 166 rooms, 65 at the Comfort Inn, 62 at the Best Western, 35 at the Budget Inn, and four at the Main Street Inn, all in Tarboro.

As a NC Department of Tourism study showed, i the period from 2006-2012, the average occupancy rate statewide was 44 percent and the average rate was $74.

Based on that, the NC State numbers would seem to be close.

The key for this being a successful effort is the development of a strong Tourism Development Authority (TDA), which is limited by law to nine members — a county commissioner, a town council member, three owners/ operators of motels, hotels or other taxable accommodations in the county, two people involved in the tourist business, one appointed by the board of commissioners and one appointed by the town council, and two people interested in the tourism business, one appointed by the commissioners and one appointed by the town council.

Until the funds start to grow, the TDA can watch over the effort — as that group will be responsible for prudent use of the money as it is. Hiring someone should be well down a future list

The funds can be used to promote the upcoming bluegrass festival, Happening’ on the Common, Easter Classic and even our disc golf, which we certainly hopes comes to pass as it is a revenue generator for many communities.

There are so many things this fund can benefit and, probably, a like number that should be left to fend for themselves.

That would be prudent management.

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Opinion
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    September 26, 2013

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    To the Editor:
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    Concerning the Tarboro High 2013 Vikings football team: They have heart and desire. That was shown Friday night versus Washington. Just like last year’s state championship game, we got behind against a very good team. The Vikings didn’t quit even though they had several injuries throughout the game.  Right up to the last minute we had a chance  but, things didn’t go our way.

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  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR

    To the Editor:
    It appears Mr. (Garland) Shepheard is shaking up things in our fair city according to a recent Daily Southerner article. Hurrah for him. This citizen, for one, believes the status quo needs a little shake up.
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    To the Editor:
    Having just recently read the front page article in The Daily Southerner regarding Councilman Shepheard’s issues with the Tarboro town manager, I was left with more questions than answers.
    The article states that  Mr. Shepheard’s reasons for not voting in favor of extending the town manager’s contract had to do with “deplorable conditions of three town facilities, Thornton’s hiring practices and giving the council what he said was false information.” That’s it.  That’s all the information we were given.

    September 2, 2013

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR

    To the Editor:
    So who are you Mr. Allen Dennie Jr.? I have never heard of you. I have tried to find your voter registration on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website and I can't find it.
    Somebody said that you have an impressive resume. I say and ?
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    August 18, 2013

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR

    To the Editor:
    I am glad that opinions are being expressed regarding my actions at the Town Council meetings,  both by Mr. Walker and Mr. Wooten.
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    August 18, 2013

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR

    To the Editor:
    I am writing out of concern about disc golf. We as a town need to consider projects that have been given to (parks and recreation director) Cheryl Gay before this disc golf came along — like a walking trail at Clark Park, repairing the bathrooms, making sure the playground equipment is up-to-date and finding out what happen to the lights on the baseball field before we find money for disc golf. The town needs to consider what we been discussing in these last couple of meetings about recreation. I would love to see the Clark Park baseball field turned into a kickball field, which is a sport that everybody knows how to play, before you consider disc golf.
    Greg Higgs,
    Tarboro

    August 15, 2013

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    To the Editor:
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