Council approves hotel tax increase | New


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Photo by Rachel Otwell

Hotel owners in Springfield, like those in downtown Wyndham Springfield on the left and President Abraham Lincoln Springfield DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on the right, will have to pay higher taxes due to a bylaw passed on September 7.

All Springfield hotels will see a 1% tax increase under a number of ordinances passed by Springfield City Council last week and effective immediately. As a result, the sports complex planned for the land near Scheels along South MacArthur Boulevard will receive around $ 30 million to $ 35 million in tax cuts.

The council approved ordinances increasing the city’s hotel and motel tax from 7% to 8%, as well as a 2% hotel tax refund for the future Legacy Pointe sports complex, as well as tax refunds on resorts. sales and property taxes. Sales tax and property tax rebates will apply to the resort itself, while the 2% tax rebate will be taken from all Springfield hotel tax revenues. In total, the tax allowance for the project is expected to be around 50% of its total cost, said Mayor Jim Langfelder.

The request for an additional sports complex in Springfield began in 2019 after the city requested an analysis from Sports Facilities Advisory, which provided market analysis showing that Springfield could take over another facility. The resulting studies came up with a project that promises a sprawling new multipurpose campus, with facilities for basketball, volleyball, baseball, and other entertainment and fitness facilities with a price tag of $ 66. million dollars, according to a feasibility study.

City council members Shawn Gregory, Roy Williams Jr. and Joe McMenamin voted “no” on the measure, which passed 6-3. Gregory said he opposed the plan because it did not incorporate city-wide benefits, citing existing sports facilities on the city’s north and east sides that will not receive any tax relief.

“We could have affected three sides of town,” said Gregory. “I believe there was a way to help the existing facilities. We could have spread the wealth more.”

Speaking ahead of his vote, Williams said he was concerned that the city had not guaranteed that development revenues would benefit Springfield’s public schools and that the plan was not benefiting all parts of the city.

Ward 8 Ald. Erin Conley argued that the incentives inherent in the deal push developers to ensure projects are built within Springfield, a factor she said was crucial to her support for the measures.

“The tournaments themselves will have to be designed to attract people to our Springfield hotels, so [the sports complex] can get their money back because otherwise the site will not work well, ”said Conley.

Langfelder said the city’s next step is to expand the deal for a resort-focused special service area. He said assurances regarding the development placed in the taxable area of ​​the Springfield Public School District will be included.

“It makes Springfield a multi-day stay community,” Langfelder said. “This has been one of the nuts that has been hard to crack. When it comes to coming to fruition, it will put us to a new level.”

Local hoteliers appear to be in favor of the ordinance. The Springfield Hotel and Lodging Association (SHLA) has expressed support, citing the feasibility study in a letter to city council, which found that the sports complex would bring about $ 25 million in direct economic impact to the city each year. .

Darin Dame, acting chairman of SHLA and general manager of SpringHill Suites, a hotel near the development site, said the group’s goal has always been for all hotels in town to benefit from the arrangement.

“We think this will be a way to have more income citywide and help all the hotels,” Dame said. “We look at this [the sports complex] as another engine that will fuel the hotel and restaurant industry. ”

The move represents a big step forward for the Legacy Pointe neighborhood, which has grown slowly over the decade since the city set a goal of building it. The Scheels sporting goods store and a few other businesses operate in the area. The ambition to have complete shopping centers, residential developments and restaurants failed, however.

The city’s next stop, the expansion of the special service area, is expected to be put to a vote in October.

Contact Kenneth Lowe at [email protected]

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