UPDATE: The Daphne lodging tax increase was approved by the city council 5-2.
City leaders in Daphne could be ready to vote on increasing the city’s lodging tax from 4 percent to 6 percent.
t’s a move which Mayor Dane Haygood says would pull in an extra $350,000 a year for sports and recreation.
“What’s really driving this is not raising taxes, It’s about providing for need in our community. Recreation is something we need to address. We definitely need additional facilities with the growth we’ve had,” said Haygood.
Rachel Byers says the number of sports organizations in Daphne has current facilities.
“In comparison to neighboring cities, they’re just lacking. Girls softball doesn’t have a place of its own. We’re using the Al Trione sportsplex, which is great, but we’re fighting other teams like baseball because their numbers have grown too,” Byers said.
Just last year, the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach made millions of dollars on sports tourism alone. Folks say those are good examples of how money spent on sports facilities can benefit the entire economy.
FOX 10 reached out to officials in the hotel industry. They declined to comment on camera on Monday, but say the move would be bad for business and they do not support the increase.
“We can host tournaments and bring thousands of people in and it’ll boost tourism. So if there was any lost revenue from the slight increase in taxes, I think they’d far make that up,” said Byers.