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Council approves first reading to reinstate hotel tax

The Mitchell City Council took another step to continue funding the Mitchell Sports and Events Authority. During a special Mitchell City Council meeting Friday at City Hall, the present council members approved an ordinance to reinstate the 50-ce...

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The Mitchell City Council took another step to continue funding the Mitchell Sports and Events Authority.

During a special Mitchell City Council meeting Friday at City Hall, the present council members approved an ordinance to reinstate the 50-cent collection on nightly room rentals at the city's hotels and motels.

The tax supports the Sports and Events Authority (SEA), which was created in 2013 to provide funds to local organizations bidding to host sports tournaments locally, particularly events that keep visitors in town overnight. A majority of the town's hotel and motel owners had to approve the tax before it could be implemented.

The tax, which has generated more than $250,000 since it was first implemented, expired after a three-year agreement, but the City Council voted Friday to reinstate the tax for three more years.

While the tax was reinstated for another three-year period, Councilman Steve Rice asked City Attorney Justin Johnson if the tax would be automatically renewed.

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"Because who knows what might change by then," Rice said.

Johnson ensured the council the tax would not be renewed automatically, and he had another bit of good news for the council.

"And the other good news that goes along with that is we don't have to wait until Jan. 1 for the tax to go back into effect," Johnson said.

It was originally believed the reinstated tax would require 90 days notice to the hotel and motel owners. But, Johnson said, he recently found out it would only require 20 days notice after final approval and publication to reinstate the tax. The tax is on track to be reinstated in the beginning of November.

The tax is part of a business improvement district made up of local hotel owners, with each owner paying $1.50 per nightly room rental. Along with the 50 cent tax appropriated to the SEA, a $1 nightly rental tax funds the addition of a second sheet of ice at the Mitchell Activities Center.

Once the $400,000 is collected to fund the second sheet of ice, the $1 portion of the tax will be used to support $1 million of the $8 million aquatic facility to be added onto the Mitchell Recreation Center.

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