Nelsonville City Council Passes Entertainment Tax< < Back to
A five percent tax on tickets that cost more than ten dollars was passed by Nelsonville City Council Monday.
The entertainment tax was approved by a four to one vote. It will go into effect beginning on July first.
City Built On Tourism
Some Nelsonville residents oppose the move. While it passed easily in city council, some are not sure the tax is the right move.
Paige Alost, Executive Director of the Athens County Visitors Bureau, said the organization is disappointed in the tax.
“What we hate to see is our tourism partners shouldered with this burden,” she said. “We understand the difficulties of the budgets with Nelsonville but we also think that there can be other ways for them to attach themselves to tourism in a better manner.”
Former Councilman Terry Koons said the tax could harm the city’s most important business.
“Tourism is one of our key industries and taxing something we want to grow is not the right place,” he said.
Despite the tax, businesses like Stuart’s Opera House and the Hocking Scenic Railway are expected to pass the increase along to their customers.
“I think that our biggest concern is what the impact will be on those organizations who will have to add on the extra five percent to their ticket costs,” Alost said.
For Alost, the tax seemed like a quick way to create revenue.
“We think it is certainly an easy way for them to generate money, especially given that we have two top attractions there that host ticketed events,” she said.
The tax is expected to generate $50,000 annually to help fund police, fire, and EMS. Those revenues are sorely needed in a city hit by more than its share of economic problems – beginning with the opening of the Route 33 bypass that rerouted most traffic away from the town, and with it a lot of business.
Most recently, the closing of the Hocking Correctional facility, and declining enrollment at Hocking College, further spurred the vote on the entertainment tax as the city looks for new sources of revenue.
School events will be exempt from the tax.