Visitors passing through Brentwood may see an added tax on their hotel bills.
City officials are considering a possible hotel/motel tax that would help fund advertising efforts for Brentwood. The tax would be added to a hotel guest's bill and collected on behalf of the city. No official proposal has been drafted, and any proposal would go before the voters, likely on the August ballot, said Mayor Pat Kelly, who supports the tax.
"We as a community have invested greatly in our shopping centers," he said. He said the city has been promoted as a shopping destination, and that it would benefit from more funds to draw in tourists.
Guests staying at SpringHill Suites in Brentwood pay a 7.25 percent tax to St. Louis County, said general manager Ann Degnan. That number is broken down into 3.5 percent for the Convention and Sports Tax and 3.75 percent for the Convention and Tourism Tax.
“As a hotel, we don’t have a lot of control over the taxes,” Degnan said. Taxes add an extra $24 to the bill, bringing the room rate of $149 to $173.
“Most people that travel and go from city to city understand it, but sometimes if we have people who don’t travel a lot, they might have questions about why it’s so high,” Degnan said. She said most people are accustomed to paying the state tax but not local taxes.
There was strong opposition to similar proposals made in St. Peters, Clayton and Richmond Heights in the recent November elections. STLToday.com also stated 71 percent of voters rejected the increases in Clayton, 66 percent in Richmond Heights and 55 percent in St. Peters. Now, the time may be coming for Brentwood residents to make their own choice. Kelly isn’t worried.
“We would just have to educate people in Brentwood about its uses. We have a very educated community, and we have to give them the appropriate information,” he said.
The mayor believes residents will be onboard with the tax increase. He said they have often been understanding of similar well explained issues in the past.
Degnan said the city needs to be careful.
“We don’t want to become one of the highest payers of hotel occupancy taxes,” Degnan said.