San Diego City Council discusses placing hotel tax on the ballot - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego City Council discusses placing hotel tax on the ballot

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Voters may have the opportunity to decide on the future of San Diego's hotel tax.

The City Council Monday discussed whether Mayor Faulconer's proposed measure should appear on the ballot in a special election in November.

The goal was to gain the city council's support for the hotel tax hike, which would help pay for the expansion of the convention center. The convention center hosts many events every year, including Comic-Con, which according to Mayor Faulconer, is an event vital to the community.

“It generates millions of dollars in economic activity that we use in this city to help our neighborhoods, pave our roads, keep our parks open, our libraries,” said Mayor Faulconer. 

The plan received a mixed reception Monday from the council and members of the public.

Area tourism leaders  urged the city council to support a proposed ballot measure that would raise hotel room taxes between one and three percent. 

The hotel room tax is currently 10.5 percent citywide, with an additional 2 percent fee that funds tourism promotions.

According to the mayor, the additional money would pay for the more than $630 million expansion of the bay front facility. Additionally, the measure would generate $900 million over a 40 year period to help fund homeless programs and pay for road repairs. 

While council members all agreed in April there was a need for a bigger convention center, concerns have been raised by homeless advocates that the money being generated by the new tax hike is insufficient to effectively tackle issues involving the homeless. 

Activists also argue that promised money for the homeless and street repairs is simply being used to win public support.

However if this measure were to pass, the proposed expansion would provide a 360-degree view of San Diego’s bay front and downtown skyline. Plus, phase III of the expansion project would allow people to enjoy festivals, community events, public art, relaxing gardens and views atop the convention center in a brand new five-acre rooftop park. Also, a new urban playground would create the largest park area in downtown.

The mayor's plan is to put the measure before voters in a special election in November.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to place the issue on the ballot at a June 12 meeting.

In order for the measure to pass, it would need two-thirds of the vote.

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