By Peter A. Ravella, CNT

Hotel/motel tax increase on tap for Tybee Island

The hotel/motel tax on Tybee Island could be increasing later this year pending approval by the Georgia General Assembly.

Tybee City Council voted unanimously to increase the island’s hotel/motel tax to 7 percent in December. The 1 percent increase requires a change in the city charter, which must be approved at a state level by the local legislative delegation.

Mayor Jason Buelterman said council became aware of a change in state law that allows counties and municipalities to raise their hotel/motel tax up to 8 percent, with the additional funds allocated toward tourism product development, which could include funds for the Marine Science Center, the Tybee Post Theater or beach renourishment.

“We’ve been really working hard to locally fund beach renourishment and not be as reliant as much on the federal and state government,” he said.

“We’ve also been trying to enhance what we have to offer for locals and tourists as far as family activities and learned that we could use those funds for the construction of the Marine Science Center, which we’ve been planning for 15 years and never had money to do it, and supplement the Tybee Post Theater, which opened a few years ago.”

As it stands currently, the 6 percent hotel/motel tax is divided among three entities: Tybee’s general fund, which receives 3 percent; Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, which receives 2 percent, and the Savannah Convention Center, which receives the remaining 1 percent.

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