Hotel Tax Challenge Headed to Mediation
Tuesday, September, 24, 2019
A judge has recommended mediation for parties involved in the dispute over the hotel tax in Tulsa. A potential settlement could be reached between the City of Tulsa and opponents of its Tourism Improvement District and the hotel assessments it intends to levy.
Both sides appeared in front of District Judge Linda Morrissey and told her they could not come to an agreement in negotiations. The judge then ordered both sides to attempt mediation before the October 7th summary judgement.
According to Trevor Henson, the attorney for hoteliers in opposition to the Tourism Improvement District, the mediation could result in a resolution. Henson explained, “I believe we are going to try to mediate the case in the next two weeks. Our position really has not changed. We believe we are on the right side of this situation and believe that the TID should have never been created. However, we are willing to try to work with the city and come up with a resolution that is best for all the parties.”
The district includes 33 hotels that each has at least 110 rooms. According to state law, the funds raised through the assessment can only be used to market the city and hotels participating in the district.
The assessment was challenged by a group of hoteliers that brought letters to the City Council and Mayor’s Office arguing that they had been affected and was in opposition to the Tourism Improvement District.
Despite mediation set to begin soon, the city’s motion for summary judgment filed in late August might end the case in its favor on October 7th if a deal is not reached by then.
Tulsa stopped collecting the 3 percenttax on hotel stays after Judge Morrissey issued a temporary injunction in June. According to the city, the tax would raise approximately $2.5 million a year.