Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill eyes hospitality, accommodations tax uses

With more money expected, Fort Mill leaders are making plans on how to distribute it.

Fort Mill Town Council set up new guidelines for hospitality and accommodations tax dollars on Monday morning. Hospitality tax, charged on food and beverages sold, has been charged for years at in-town restaurants. The money has to be spent on tourism-generating projects.

Last year, the town brought in a little more than $100,000. Accommodations tax revenue comes from overnight stays.

“You’re going to start getting accommodations tax,” said Dennis Pieper, town manager.

Fort Mill now has one hotel operating. Three more are planned. Along with each new restaurant in town adding to the hospitality tax, the hotels mean more money to manage through accommodations tax.

“With a couple of hotels, that’s going to increase,” said Councilwoman Guynn Savage.

With hospitality tax, events or organizations approached the town to make requests. Promotions for the South Carolina Strawberry Festival and initial funding for the Fort Mill History Museum received funding. New accommodations tax money has the same tourism requirement as the hospitality tax.

Instead of taking proposals piecemeal, the town now will accept funding requests July 8-Aug. 1 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

“This would establish a more formal process,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.

The hospitality tax is a 2 percent charge. The town accommodations tax is 3 percent, with another 2 percent state surcharge.

The only other decision at the Oct. 26 council meeting was an update to rules for wrecker and towing services. The ordinance update outlines what services can charge for public service. It was needed as town providers have grown from just a few, several years back.

“Now we have 10,” said Jeff Helms, police chief. “It’s just an update.”

After an executive session, council members voted to update Pieper’s contract Nov. 9 in another executive session, then vote on a new contract Nov. 23.