Has anyone noticed the unincorporated portions of Sussex County are still not collecting the 3 percent hotel tax for the County? This tax is imposed on hotel guests (visitors), not on Sussex County residents.
All proceeds from the tax are devoted to Sussex County for funding “projects and programs, such as beach nourishment, waterway dredging, economic development, and water quality/flood control” (Sussex County Council minutes of Nov 12, 2019, page 6). The tax was enacted on Jan 1, 2020, but its implementation was deferred to support local businesses (i.e., hotels) during the period of tight COVID pandemic restrictions.
As we all have seen during the Memorial Day holiday, the largely-eliminated COVID restrictions results in a significant influx of visitors to various localities, so the hotel tax should now be reinstated.
However, at the May 11, 2021, Sussex County Council meeting, an initiative, led by Mark Schaeffer, resulted in a decision to defer the tax collection. Is this yet another conflict of interest, since he is supported by large local developers? Councilman Schaeffer should not even be allowed to vote on this tax concerning his businesses.
There was no timetable for the duration of the deferment. Sussex County has already lost revenue and stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars more — revenue paid by visitors to keep their beach visits enjoyable and worth repeating.
Mark Schaeffer has said he won’t raise taxes for residents of Sussex County but, if visitors to Sussex County do not contribute to repairing the impact of their visits, who do you think will have to pay?