2 Years Ago, a City Passed a Hotel Tax on What Was Town’s Only Hotel – Never Told the Hotel Owner

Papillion, NE Photo from City Data

The owner of what was once the only hotel in Papillion, Nebraska,  was smacked with a hotel occupation tax bill two years after the city approved the tax, but never told him. This is what America has become. It’s not free anymore, and small town governments are just as greedy and socialistic as our federal government.

From The Omaha World Herald:

By Emily Nohr / World-Herald staff writer

A hotel in Papillion — until recently the Sarpy city’s only hotel — is at odds with the city over a hotel tax that passed two years ago and went unpaid.

Liberty Lodge manager Mike Patel says he didn’t know the City of Papillion had passed an occupation tax on hotels. It wasn’t until recently that the city notified the hotel about delinquent payments.

Papillion, which passed the tax more than two years ago, now says the hotel owes the city more than $8,000. City officials say it wasn’t their responsibility to reach out to Papillion’s only hotel when the hotel tax was approved.

Patel said he shouldn’t have to pay up because the city didn’t notify him that the tax was approved or let him know sooner that it was going unpaid.

“We were the only hotel in Papillion,” he said. “Why didn’t they keep their eye on it?”

City officials say they didn’t do anything wrong. The city said that the hotel knew about the tax when it was under consideration and that the tax was communicated to the public as required.

“It’s not a question of awareness,” city spokesman Darren Carlson said.

The city approved the hotel tax — a 5 percent charge on gross receipts — in 2012 in anticipation of more hotels being built. One of numerous cities in the metro area with an occupation tax on hotels, Papillion passed the tax as a way to use revenue from Werner Park-area hotels to help pay for the ballpark.

At the time, Liberty Lodge, along Highway 370 east of 84th Street, was the city’s only one. It’s a 36-room hotel that Patel said has been there since the early 1980s.

Then, this year, a bed-and-breakfast came to town. That’s when city officials realized that they hadn’t been receiving payments from Liberty Lodge, Carlson said.

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