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Hotel group supports commissioner's plan for Lancaster convention center

By , - Last modified: October 5, 2012 at 5:31 PM

The Greater Lancaster Hotel and Motel Association released a statement today endorsing Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin's plan to bolster the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority's finances and rejecting a plan put forward by city Mayor Rick Gray.

Martin released his five-year plan in August. It calls for concessions from various stakeholders that Martin said would save about $1.7 million a year, enough for the authority to meet its debt, operational and facility maintenance obligations.

Gray's proposal would involve raising the county hotel tax from 3.9 percent to its maximum, 5 percent. The association rejects that measure.

"GLHMA is opposed to any increase in the hotel tax. … The hotel industry has been shouldering the full burden of the convention center operating expenses and financing debt and it is time for other stakeholders to step forward with financial support," the statement said.

Martin's plan calls for the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau's share of hotel tax revenue to continue going to the authority, as it has since spring. Critics say the bureau's efforts to market the convention center and county would be hampered severely if that happens.

Gray's plan would restore the bureau's share of hotel tax funding.

Wells Fargo, the bank that holds the authority's debt, is scheduled to reset interest rates on a portion of the financing in March. The bank could set those rates higher if the authority's finances are not assured.

GLAMA said it represents Lancaster County 24 hotel and motel operators.

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