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Cary, Morrisville Seek Input In Use Of Wake Hotel Tax Money

Posted June 14, 2004

— If those hotels, located in Cary and Morrisville, are raising a third of the county's hotel tax fund, then shouldn't the towns get a say in how to spend it?

That is what Cary Councilman Jack Smith says.

"It's important to have fairness. This isn't greed -- it's just a matter of being fair," Smith said.

Initially, most hotels in the region were in Raleigh, so the Raleigh city council, along with Wake County commissioners, got to decide how to allocate the hotel tax fund. But with the area growing, two other communities think it is time they had a say.

Raleigh holds the power to grant or deny $15 million in hotel tax money to help fund an aquatic center in Cary.

"We just think it's time that allocation be distributed in a fairer format," Smith said.

"It's really working very well. It allows the whole county to invest in big facilities," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Meeker says projects like the BTI and RBC centers were built from the hotel tax fund and benefit everyone, including Cary and Morrisville.

"Western Wake has done really well in the initial rounds and I anticipate will continue to do well," Meeker said.

The next step for Cary and Morrisville would be to lobby legislators in hopes that it would come up in a future legislative session.

Meeker's fear is if you have too many people deciding how the fund is spend, it will be difficult to accomplish projects.

Each year, the tax brings in a total of $2 million.

Most of the cash is currently earmarked for Raleigh's new convention center, but there are several projects across the county competing for whatever amount is left over.

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