Boonville seeks one percent lodging tax increase

BOONVILLE — The City of Boonville and the Boonville Tourism Commission are asking the citizens of Boonville to vote 'Yes' to increase the lodging tax on hotel room rentals (AKA the “bed tax”) from four percent to five percent.
The bed tax was raised from 2-4 percent in 2009 by a 3-1 margin. The tax is not a tax on the residents of Boonville. It is a tax applied only to those who spend the night in a hotel, motel, B&B or campground in Boonville city limits. When visitors come to Boonville and stay overnight, the tourism fund is replenished and the regular sales tax goes to the general fund, benefiting the entire city.
The maximum lodging tax allowed in a city the size of Boonville is five percent, and that extra one percent would result in another $40,000 to the tourism fund per year. The Boonville Tourism Commission met on October 8 to decide how they would allocate that $40,000 if the citizens of Boonville voted to raise the bed tax.
The Commission decided that, beginning in the 2014-15 fiscal year, $20,000 would go toward a share of a joint effort in the replacement of the downtown white lights, $10,000 would go toward a new festival such as a Christmas Festival designed to bring people to Boonville, and $10,000 would be dedicated to help fund sports tournaments. The goal is to re-do the white lights, establish a large (Christmas) festival, and help bring baseball, softball, soccer, wrestling, volleyball, swimming and other sports tournaments to Boonville on a more regular basis, all intended to attract visitors to Boonville and enhance the local economy.
Other Missouri cities with a 5 percent bed tax include Sedalia, Springfield, St. Charles, and Washington. Hannibal and St. Joseph are at six percent, and Jefferson City, St. Louis, and Kansas City are all at seven percent or above.