MOUNT VERNON — City residents renting one room or their entire home through Internet websites will be subject to a 3 percent bed tax after city council approves legislation redefining a hotel.
Council heard a second reading Monday night on the ordinance that updates the designation of a hotel (motel, inn, bed & breakfast, etc.) “to be a place where sleeping accommodations are offered for a consideration to guests in which one or more rooms are used for the accommodations of guests,” the legislation reads.
City Auditor Terry Scott explained to council that a proprietor who collects and pays the bed tax questioned whether some others were doing the same. Upon initial look, Scott said he found about six that were not. Ultimately, about 12 such establishments were found.
“We can tell they have rented based on (website) feedback,” said City Director of Law Rob Broeren.
In the committee meeting discussion, Broeren also mentioned such operations would also be subject to city income tax.
The legislation is expected to be adopted during the Sept. 24 meeting. Broeren said letters would be sent to those not paying the bed tax with a “gentle reminder” of the requirement.
Council adopted the following legislation after suspending the requirement for three readings:
•Reappointed Susan Kahrl to the Shade Tree and Beautification Committee for a three-year term;
•Approved the following supplemental appropriations: $1,008,620 in a grant and loan for the Parrott Street improvement project; and $15,000 from Ariel Foundation for improvement to the Madision Street/Marion Street park project.
•Approved transfer of $49,750 to Water Utility Reserve for elevated water tower maintenance and $40,000 to remove sludge from lagoons.
•Authorized administration to contract for the stormwater utility study.
•Vacated of unnamed alley off Cliff Street in the Elmwood Place Subdivision. Mayor Mavis explained that all surrounding property owners were in agreement which means no public hearings are required.
Second readings were heard for the following legislation:
•An ordinance rezoning the former fire station at 215 Ames Street from P-1 Public, Semipublic District to R-1 Single Family District;
•An ordinance rezoning eight parcels from township zoning Rural Residential and Agriculture and R-1 Single Family District to Municipal R-1 Single Family District.
Council and administration discussed a slight remodel of council chambers in order to create a more workable space and offer more comfortable seating.
Dave Carpenter, superintendent of buildings and lands, spoke about flooring and seating options. After some discussion, it was determined that carpeting would be better the better option over tile flooring because of acoustics. Stackable chairs will replace the wooden pews so that the space can be used for larger meetings, especially those requiring tables.
Safety-Service Director Joel Daniels suggested a small conference room off council chambers could be used for chair and table storage to accommodate needs for the change in use.
Carpenter will look into carpeting and chair options and report back to administration. The project, he said, will become part of his 2019 budget.
The pews will be stored on the second floor of the municipal building.
Interim treasurer Bud Krutch explained to council that he has been able to reconcile bank records through July and is working on August records. He has also been able to locate bank receipts for the first three months of the year and is asking for deposit slips for April, May, June and part of July.
Krutch was appointed by Mavis to the position after Felicia Rhodes resigned from the position last month. The Knox County Republican Party is expected to name a replacement Wednesday night after meeting with those interested in the position.