Frederick's City 'Hotel Contagion' Spreads
County wants “incentivized” hotels in Brunswick, Middletown, Myersville, New Market, Thurmont…
IN AN EFFORT TO OPEN COUNTY COFFERS TO HELP FUND THE HAPLESS Frederick City–sponsored Downtown Hotel & Conference Center project, Frederick County has embraced a “hotel development incentive program.” The program—adopted as part of a bill that raises the County’s hotel room tax from 3 percent to 5 percent—would deliver a large tax break to approved new fullservice hotels/conference centers, slashing the hotel room tax to as little as 0.75 percent, ostensibly to help the new facilities service their debt. Of course, existing
county hotels would get nothing except tax break–subsidized competition.
The immediate beneficiary of the scheme is likely to be the proposed Downtown Hotel & Conference Center. Offering the same breaks to other facilities built in the county’s other municipalities is a way to rally support outside the city for the unpopular project. At the county council meeting that endorsed the scheme by a 4–3 vote, officials from a number of the smaller towns spoke in favor of it.