South Jacksonville Looking to Increase Hotel-Motel Tax

By Benjamin Cox on November 20, 2021 at 11:37am

The Village of South Jacksonville is looking at increasing their hotel-motel tax in the near future.

The hotel-motel tax is the sole revenue the village pulls in for its tourism funding.

Trustee Paula Belobradjic-Stewart, Chair of the Village’s Parks & Tourism Committee, informed the board on Thursday during a committee of the whole meeting that the Tourism committee discovered that the village’s ordinance governing the tax percentage isn’t on par with the tax rate of nearby towns: “Right now [our ordinance] says our hotel-motel tax is between 3 and 5 percent. That’s what the ordinance reads. We are going to change that to 8% to match the hotel tax rates in surrounding areas. Now, Chicago is 10.5%, which is obviously too high. The majority of communities and Jacksonville is 8%. We are going to raise ours to 8% because people aren’t just staying here because we are at 5%. The way we are going to re-write the ordinance…the 3 to 5 is going to be out. It’s going to say 8% upon passage, and then a half percent increase for each year up to 10%. Then, the board at that time in 4 years will re-visit that, because if the rate at 10% is too high, they obviously are going to change that. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market, but we are also leaving too much money on the table right now.”

The tourism committee is also looking at setting flat fees for hotels and motels who are late paying their tax to the village, and also having an accountability measure for the hotels and motels if they purposely under report their revenues.

The possible changes to the hotel-motel tax ordinance are on the table for action items at the December board meeting.