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Lake County leaders consider increase in tourism development tax

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Lake County Commission Chairman Sean Parks says the tourism tax increase won't affect 99.9% of county residents. Image: Lake County via video

Lake County commissioners are considering raising the tourism development tax by one penny to five cents on the dollar for visitors at hotels and vacation rentals.

The increase would free up the current tourism tax revenue to pay for a convention center and regional trails.

Advocates for trails in Lake County, like Commission Chairman Sean Parks, see a need for a local funding source in addition to state or federal money.

“We talk about trails and we’ve all been very committed to trail,” he said a commission meeting Tuesday. “There’s trail projects within each of our districts, for instance. The expo center. We’ve made a very firm commitment to not raise the property tax rate. So I don’t know how you do some of this without at least looking at this.”

The county will get about $3 million next year from its current tourism tax. The increase could add $750,000.

Except for Sumter County, Lake and Marion have the lowest TDT rate in their Central Florida neighborhood. Polk and Seminole are at 5%; Orange, Osceola and Volusia at six.

Commissioners want to hear from businesses affected by the tax and to avoid creating competition for them.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.