Hamilton County increases hotel tax
Hamilton County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday, Oct. 5, to increase the hotel tax by 1 percentage point, which will allow a $200 million renovation project at the Duke Energy Convention Center to go forward.
The tax would go from 18.3%, which includes both the state and county sales taxes, to 19.3% in the city of Cincinnati.
Today, the hotel tax is one of the top five highest in the country. The tax increase will go into effect Dec. 1 instead of Nov. 1 to give local hoteliers more time to adjust their financial systems.
The tax increase and project is “much needed for Cincinnati to remain competitive,” said Joe Pinto, who leads the Cincinnati Hotel Association.
Todd Jameson, with Renfro productions, which owns the Cincinnati Boat, Sport and Travel Show, said expos like his, which often bring local residents to the convention center, are imperiled by the 18-month closure of the convention center under this plan. He urged a phased-in approach to the construction timeline.
The overhaul would allow $40 million in bonds to be issued for the project:
-Replace major building systems, some of which have not been updated since the 1980s
-Demolish and replace the facade
-Extend exhibit hall space, adding about 12,000 square feet
-Improve entrances and circulation throughout the facility
-Upgrade meeting rooms and ballrooms
-Improve energy efficiency
-Add flexibility for multiple simultaneous events
-Integrate Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility
-Add state-of-the-art technology
-Add programmable outdoor space at the former Millennium site across Elm Street, east of the convention center.
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