Press Release: Town of Lexington Hospitality Tax Facts

Town of Lexington Hospitality Tax Facts

H-TAX

·         H-Tax is exclusive to the purchasing of prepared food and beverage (i.e. restaurant, fast food) in addition to prepared food on site at convenient stores and grocery stores (i.e. pizza, hot dogs, salads, fried chicken).

·         H-Tax is NOT a tax on groceries

·         H-Tax would generate an estimated $2.1 Million annually. That number may seem impossibly high for a town with an estimated population of 20,000 citizens, however the Town of Lexington has over 100,000 additional people each day that commute, shop or visit for recreation.

·         H-Tax would allow the large number of daily visitors to bear some of the cost in lieu of causing a property tax burden on the citizens.

·         Nearly all larger and smaller cities in South Carolina have H-Tax (over 100 cities), many being implemented over a decade ago.

CUSTOMER IMPACT

·         If adopted, a family a four who spends $100 a week ($5,200) on prepared food and drink will contribute $104 annually in H-Tax.

·         A daily driver who spends 30 minutes a day (130 hours per year) in traffic is projected to annually spend $156 in wasted fuel consumption and $303 in associated maintenance. (info from E3fleet idling cost calculator)

DISCREPANCIES

·         It has been stated that the Town of Lexington’s Vision Plan calls for the one-way pair plan to be scrapped. This is true BUT only the one-way pairs consisting of Main and Butler Streets. The one-way pair that is proposed is for Lake (SC 6) and Church St, not the one mentioned in the Vision plan.

·         It has been stated that the $8 million the State appropriated to Lexington County this year could be used for the three projects. This is not true; the money was given with the restriction that it be used for resurfacing of SC Department of Transportation (SC DOT) roads or bridges.

·         It has been stated that the Town has not had engineers involved in the design of the proposed projects and that SC DOT has not been involved. Nothing could be further from the truth. All three of the projects originated from SC DOT planning staff, with two projects originally designed in 2004. The Town of Lexington has a full time traffic engineer and all three projects have been reviewed/designed by certified traffic engineers from multiple engineering firms.

·         It has been stated that the Town did not vet the three projects. Council and staff evaluated more than 20 projects for inclusion. Council requested that projects be sent to an outside, independent traffic engineering firm for evaluation. This firm ranked the proposed projects based on impact and effectiveness compared to cost. The top projects from this ranking are the projects brought to the public for implementation.

·         It has been said that the Town is rushing the process. The Town adopted the Vision Plan in May 2012, which included the implementation of H- Tax as an option for funding of projects. During the Council Retreat in summer 2014, H- Tax was discussed as an option; work, in earnest, was started in January 2015 for planning the process. Council has held two public input sessions and will have a public hearing prior to the final reading. This is far and above what is required for adoption. H-tax was discussed at 14 separate meetings as well as a number of meetings among staff and outside (Public/ Private) engineers.

·         It has been said that Council could allow the public vote on H-Tax. The H-Tax is regulated by state law and does not allow for a vote of the citizens, it can only be adopted by Council action.

Jennifer Dowden
Town of Lexington
Events and Media Coordinator

803.356.8238 (Office)

803.600.2533 (Mobile)

803.359.4460 (Fax)

jdowden@lexsc.com

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