Hotel tax of 2.5% finally becomes law


CELINA-A hotel occupancy tax for Clay County passed a second reading of the Clay County commission here earlier this month and has become law.


Commissioners passed the resolution in April by an 8-2 vote to request the state General Assembly pass a private act levying a 2.5 percent hotel tax for the county. That was done in June, and then commissioners passed the resolution for a second time by the same 8-2 margin earlier this month. 


Commissioners Winton Young and Roger Gray voted against the resolution, as they did in April. 

The resolution defines “hotel” as any structure, space or vessel “intended or designed for occupancy” and includes “any hotel, inn, marina, tourist camp, tourist court, tourist cabin, campground, houseboat, motel” or “any place in which rooms, lodgings or accommodations are furnished to transients for a consideration.”


The proceeds from the tax would be used for tourism and economic development, the resolution said, and the county clerk would keep a two percent fee for collecting the tax. 


Commissioners will likely discuss and possibly set a startup date for collection of the tax at their October meeting. 


Tax rate, budget passed; new school board member named

In other action at the meeting, commissioners: 


• passed the budget and corresponding tax rate ($3.10) for the current fiscal year (see a more detailed story on the budget in a future issue),


• appointed Jerry Eads to fill the vacant District 5 school board seat, after Nathan Sherrell withdrew from consideration,


• elected county mayor Dale Reagan as chairman of the commission and Winton Young as chairman pro-tempore,


• made board and committee member appointments for 2009-2010 (see more in a future edition), 


• passed a resolution supporting the Clay County schools’ application for grant or loan funds for energy efficiency programs with the state department of Economic and Community Development, 


• declared four vehicles the sheriff’s department has in their possession as surplus property, to be sold at the next scheduled auction,


• passed a resolution asking for a delay in the implementation of the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act,” which requires all Tennessee counties to use optical scan voting machines and paper ballots no later than November 2010.  The resolution said the Tennessee Secretary of State “has indicated the equipment mandated by the Act is not available for sale anywhere in the United States, nor does it appear that the required equipment will be available prior to the November 2010 deadline,” 


• passed a resolution prohibiting handguns in public county parks, campgrounds and other similar places (Boles, Beverly Young, Coons and Lee voted against the resolution), 


• elected Judith Cutright, Suzanne Copeland, Cherry Ann Denton, Jacqueline Burnette and Wanda Meadows as public notaries, and


• approved the constable bond for District 2 constable Jerry D. York.