The City of Chester has implemented a new tax, using abilities granted under state code to charge a 6 percent tax to anyone staying at hotels or motels within the city limits.
While this will be a limited sources of revenue - Chester's only qualifying businesses at present would be the Andrews Motel and the C.A. Smith house which currently is being developed into a bed and breakfast - and we normally would be leery of new taxes, we feel this is a good move for the city and the region as a whole.
This type of tax is nothing new for our area. The Hancock County Commission has it in place for hotels and motels in the unincorporated areas of the county and Weirton City Council put the tax on their books several years ago.
It is not charged to residents, only to those staying at the hotels and motels, and, at 6 percent, the Chester tax cannot be raised any higher under state law.
The law requires revenue collected from this tax be used for two specific areas: the promotion of tourism - which is handled through the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau - and construction, maintenance or promotion of public parks, historic sites, beautification projects or the arts.
To continue to grow the Ohio Valley, our communities need to be able to draw people here. We also must ensure there are safe recreational opportunities and events for those who currently live here. This tax will contribute to those efforts, providing for things like tourism brochures and presentations, updates to local parks, concert series, festivals and recreational facilities.
Anything we can do to help rebuild and improve our region is good, and with that in mind, we thank Chester City Council for moving forward with this idea.