Van Buren City Council Approves Hotel, Motel Tax Increase

VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- The city council approved a hotel and motel tax increase Monday (Nov. 14) for the first time in nearly three decades.

"I think it`s a great way for the A & P to have more funds to do things in downtown and surrounding areas," resident Steve Edwards said.

Van Buren's Advertising and Promotion Commission said the two percent lodging tax hike will go toward downtown revitalization.

"It's a thriving place to be now," Director Maryl Koeth, Advertising and Promotion Commission said.

Koeth said the tax had been at one percent since 1989. She said the increase will pump an extra $110,000 into the local economy.

"That’s going to help bring people to Van Buren, to enjoy our Main Street, eat in our restaurants, stay on our lodging properties and increase the revenue flow for all of those businesses," Koeth said.

What does this mean for tourists? If a hotel costs $100 for your stay, you will pay $3 in taxes for a total of $103.

To put this in perspective with other surrounding cities, Fort Smith has had a 3 percent lodging rate since 2001.

Rogers and Fayetteville have a two percent hotel and motel tax.

The increase in Van Buren will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.