Ocean City officials consider raising room tax by half a percent

OCEAN CITY, Md. –  Staying at a hotel or rental condo in Ocean City could become slightly more expensive in the future if a proposed raise in room tax is approved.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan explained, “The council is considering raising the room tax from four and a half to five percent.”

Town officials are considering raising the room tax to help pay for expenses related to tourism like the cost of Public Works, the cost of the Police Department, hosting special events and funding destination advertising.

Mayor Meehan said, “Since all of those costs are associated with tourism and events and bringing people to town, wouldn’t using room tax to offset those expenses rather than the general fund revenue or property tax revenue, wouldn’t that be the way to go?”

Resort officials say the change could generate some serious revenue. Mayor Meehan said, “A one-half percent increase in room tax would generate on a fiscal year basis about 1.7 million dollars.”

Some locals we spoke with on Tuesday said they support the change.

David Kress, a local said, “Being a resident of the area, I feel that it’s a tourist area, let the tourists pay for the upkeep.”

But some people say raising the room tax may not be such a good idea. In fact, they believe it could do more harm than good.

Chip O’Neal, an Ocean City resident said, “I just think its going to hurt the tourism and [that’s] what these businesses count on is the tourists. If you’re going to make them pay more, there is going to be less that they can do for the local businesses here.”

Ultimately, a decision regarding the tax is still months away from being made, so until then residents and tourists can rest easy knowing they’re still going to get the same bang for their buck in the coming months.

The Mayor is currently writing up a letter to send to Worcester County officials requesting that they raise the room tax. Mayor Meehan tells us he doesn’t expect an official decision to be made for several more months.

The room tax hasn’t been raised in Ocean City since 2007.

Categories: Local News, Maryland