Norman City Council considers vote on room rate tax increase

Norman City Council members may call for an April election asking for a 1 percent increase in the hotel/motel tax.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: January 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013
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— City council members are considering asking residents to vote on a proposed increase in the hotel/motel room tax.

An ordinance calling for the election probably will be on the Jan. 8 city council agenda for a “first reading,” City Clerk Brenda Hall said.

A first reading of a proposed ordinance means it's on the agenda for notification purposes but is not up for discussion.

The “second reading,” or a public hearing on the proposal, would be Jan. 22.

Council members are contemplating asking voters to increase the tax by 1 percent, which would bring Norman's total hotel/motel tax rate to 5 percent.

Currently at 4 percent, the room tax is divided among the convention and visitors bureau, which gets 50 percent of the money; the arts, which get 25 percent; and parks, which get 25 percent.

Hall said the council is requesting that the division of money remain the same.

In a recent city council study session, most council members indicated support for a 1 percent increase in the room tax.

Oklahoma City has a 51/2 percent hotel/motel room tax, and most Norman City Council members said they preferred that Norman's rate remain below that level.

“If we're equal to Oklahoma City, we lose that competitive advantage,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said.

If council members approve an ordinance calling for an election, the question would come before voters April 2, Hall said.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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