Dunwoody officials are considering raising taxes on hotel guests in order to finance a bid to bring the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to the city.
The tax would raise Dunwoody’s hotel and motel tax for three years to 6 percent from 5 percent. It would produce about $375,000 a year, city officials said.
Half would go to the hall of fame and half would go to the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, which would use the money to promote the museum, now located in Macon.
The proposal was presented to members of Dunwoody City Council during a council retreat Feb. 4.
“By no means is this a pipe dream kind of thing for us,” said Brad Sturgeon of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The City Council would first have to approve an increase in the city’s bed tax. Some council members questioned whether the city should provide direct financial support to the effort. City Councilman Denis Shortal said that hall of fame advocates have said they will not need public money for the project.
“It just amazes me,” he said. “They said, “‘We will not have need of public money.’ And here we are two months into it, and we’re asking for public money.”
It’s not clear what happens next with the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Four cities, including Macon and Dunwoody, have submitted bids to be the site for a new hall, but the authority that operates the hall recently voted to reject a tabulation that ranked Macon above the bids of three other cities that want to attract the museum.
Dunwoody’s bid scored last among the batch of proposals that received lackluster scores from the authority’s board. Dunwoody was bested in the rankings by Macon, which currently houses the museum, Woodstock and Athens, respectively.
The authority voted 6-3 Jan. 26 to refuse to accept the rankings that a whole committee of the board created.
Lisa Love, administrator of a request for proposals that could relocate the music museum, said that it’s unclear what that means.
“At this point, no further decision has been made,” she said, adding that the board would seek direction from Gov. Nathan Deal and state economic development officials.
The authority is expected to select a winning bidder by an April 15 deadline. The authority put out a request for proposals late last year. The current museum in Macon receives an annual state subsidy for its operations.
Sturgeon said the new Dunwoody proposal had support from the city’s hotel operators. “Hoteliers would like to have this in Dunwoody,” he said. “There’s no other tourist attraction on the horizon.”
The hall of fame, he said, is a unique attraction that would suit Dunwoody well. “It can attract guest from throughout the state of Georgia,” he said. “It fits us. It’s about the right size, yet it reaches throughout the state.”
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