Convention Center wants Boyle to increase hotel room tax

January 14, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

The Danville Convention and Conference Center has asked Boyle County Fiscal Court and Danville City Commission to add 1 percent to its 3 percent hotel room tax.

The increase would raise about $35,000 a year and could, by law, be used for the center's operating expenses, such as the light bill or salaries.

Don Vizi, president of the center and former Danville Chamber of Commerce executive director, asked magistrates to consider the tax increase at their regular meeting Tuesday. He expects to be at the city's meeting on Jan. 26.

County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder said that the city and county would need to have a joint ordinance because the two share operation of the convention and visitors bureau. The motel tax helps fund the bureau.


Wilder also said that the tax wouldn't affect county taxpayers, but is added to hotel bills.

When Vizi announced the center in August he said that no government money was being used or sought.

Asked about that comment Wednesday, Vizi said the motel tax is "not a tax on government and it's not a government tax, it is a tax on hotels."

"It's a tax that will help tourism," he said. "Obviously we are going to bring in a lot of tourists to the area."

Convention participants, Vizi said, are expected to spend $1.8 million a year in the community on gas, lodging and food. He said that the increase is supported by all the local hotels and motels, and provided letters of support from many of them.

Magistrate John Hudson said he wanted to review all the information about the tax before he votes on it, and also voiced concern that the center is a privately-funded business.

Vizi said that state law doesn't distinguish between privately and publicly funded convention centers for the purpose of such a tax.

Madar Bux, one of the four doctors who own the center, said that the money collected would be a small part of the actual expense to run the center.

The facility was bought and renovated by local doctors Bux, Anjum Bux, Arthur Rivard and Thomas Serey. It has 11,410 square feet of open floor space that will accommodate 1,000 people in a classroom setting and seat 750 for banquets. The center will house a 27,000 square-foot cinema, a 3,950 square-foot restaurant, and a 4,000 square-foot spa. The center opened in December.

Vizi said that a movie theater is expected to sign a contract with the center soon. No restaurant has signed, but Vizi said he is confident they will soon announce both the theater and the restaurant.

There are 35 events booked for the center, up until Jan. 2005, including weddings, meetings and a prom.

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