Letter to the Editor

Use motel tax to build new civic center

Sunday, February 3, 2013

To the editor:

How much more can be done to help Blytheville grow? Have we hit a roadblock?

Well, there is something that would put a little spark in our local economy. It's amazing that our leadership hasn't pursued this obvious project before ... a project created and funded by a local initiative that will cost our citizens nothing.

Our motels in the city -- and there are many -- charge a 1 percent tax on the rental of their hotel rooms. This money, in return, comes to the coffers of the city for overall maintenance. Money that helps tremendously.

This money comes to the city through the City Advertising and Tourism Promotion Committee. According to Arkansas law, a city can charge the motels 3 percent on their daily occupancy.

In our case, that could bring an additional amount into the city coffers of approximately $250,000-$300,000 annually -- but it can only be used to promote tourism projects.

This is what it could do for Blytheville: It could provide the necessary income to build a new civic center, on land that is also purchased through the use of these funds -- a big boon to Blytheville.

Our Chamber of Commerce and the citizens of Blytheville will need to get behind this. I, for one, would be willing to work on the project.

Edwin Holstead