Voters decide fate of Fulton hotel tax Tuesday

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

Next week, Fulton voters will decide whether or not to implement a new tax on hotel lodging within the city.

The City of Fulton will be holding a special election next Tuesday, June 5, to determine whether or not to implement a 3 percent “tourism tax” on hotel stays in the city.

Residents should go to their regular voting locations to cast their ballots. Polling locations include the old fire station for Ward I, Fulton City Hall for Ward II, the American Legion building for Ward III and the Fulton Country Club for Ward IV.

The proposed tax will have to be approved by 60 percent of the city’s voters before it can go into effect. If approved by the voters, the extra money garnered by the new tax will help fund various projects throughout the city.

The funds generated by the proposed tourism tax — estimated at approximately $50,000 to $70,000 annually — will be used to support several major projects throughout the city, including improvements to the natural gas lines in the city, especially to the downtown area and the port.

According to Fulton Mayor Paul Walker, adding a small tax to hotel stays proved popular among the board of aldermen because it would help finance some much-needed projects without being a burden to most of the city’s residents.

The mayor said the extra money and the projects it funds will be a real boon for the area’s growth.

“If and when this does pass, it will be a great economic development tool for the city of Fulton,” he said.

Few of the city’s residents will ever pay a cent of the new tax, the mayor said.

This isn’t the first time the city has flirted with the idea of adopting a tourism tax; in 2010, the board planned to host a special election to let voters decide on the issue, but eventually put the issue on the backburner.

The mayor said he believes voters will support the new tax.

“I think it’s got a real good chance at passing,” he said.

adam.armour@journalinc.com