The Occupancy Tax in Robeson County and Wilmington

Wilmington, NC – Robeson County Democrat Ronnie Sutton has introduced legislation in the state House establishing a 3% occupancy tax for tourism advertising and a new horse arena in Robeson County.

The horse arena would be located at the Southeastern Agricultural Center and Farmer's Market. And a Robeson County Tourism Development Authority would be established to dole out the tax revenue for things such as tourism advertising and market research.

Settlement in Convention Center Conflict

In a related note, the city of Wilmington has reached an agreement with plaintiffs who sued over the management agreement for the future convention center complex.

Some of the plaintiffs were local hotel operators who bristled at the first deal that gave public money from an occupancy tax to build a private hotel attached to the center.

In the settlement,no public money will go toward building or running the hotel.

Plaintiff's attorney Ed Gaskins says the settlement now puts any profits back into city coffers.

He applauds both the city and his clients for arriving at what he believes is a precedent setting settlement.

I think the key to this was the good sense of the mayor and the New Hanover legislative delegation and my clients to sit down and talk reasonably.

The lawsuit settlement hinges on legislation filed in the state House by New Hanover Republican Danny McComas, which provide the city with money to build and run the hotel.

Gaskins says if the bill fails to pass the lawsuit will move forward unless both parties reach another agreement.