After the forum, the Farragut Business Alliance voted to oppose the proposed 3% hotel-motel tax.
They submitted their recommendation to the Town of Farragut in a letter. They also offered to serve as a facilitating body for continued dialogue with the hotels - and the business community
in general - regarding tourism promotion for the Town of Farragut.
The Farragut Board of Mayor and Alderman will meet next week to vote on the tax issue.
(WBIR-Farragut) The Town of Farragut has proposed their own hotel-motel tax for the community's seven hotels with an eighth one that's under construction.
It would be on top of current state and county taxes.
Thursday, Farragut businesses gathered to discuss the impact and many expressed concern that a new tax could hurt not just the lodging industry, but also local shops.
Amit Patel's hotels sit just off Interstate 40. He's invested more than $12 million into 140 rooms.
He already saw a hit to his business due to the economy. Now, thought of a new tax brings worry.
"If we are required to charge an additional 3% we are going to be competing with hotels just down the street that do not have to pay that," explained Patel, "In turn we will have to lower our rates."
Thursday was an opportunity for business owners like Amit to talk about their concerns.
The Farragut Business Alliance encouraged all local shop owners to hear the town's 3% proposal and openly talk about issues.
David Purvis is the President of the Farragut Business Alliance. He said, "I learned a lot of things from their perspective in their industry what is going on in the state and region and what is going on in other communities as far as hotel rates tax rates."
The Town Administrator explained the 3% tax would go toward improvements in Farragut. They hope to spend $120,000 next year promoting the town.
Plus, Farragut already has plans to open new fields and hopes with new tax revenue they could promote the region's historic stops and Turkey Creek.
"Well, certainly we are trying to draw more visitors to our community," explained Town Administrator David Smoak, "By drawing more visitors it not only helps the hotels it helps other businesses in town, especially Turkey Creek. You have more people shopping and spending their dollars here."
The ideas bring worry for some, that the tax could actually drive away business, push hotel shoppers to other cities, and force hotels to drop their rates to stay competitive.
The second and final reading of the proposed hotel-motel tax will be in one week on May 23rd at 7:00 p.m.
Knoxville and some surrounding cities have already implemented a 3% tax years ago.