Roswell considering fee to help pay for convention center

Posted at: 07/18/2013 7:10 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

If you stay in a hotel or motel in Roswell, you could end up helping the city pay for a better convention center.

Councilors are considering adding a surcharge when you book your room.  But KOB Eyewitness News 4 found out some are worried this could end up hurting the local hotels and motels. 

The Roswell Convention Center currently holds 1,000 people, fewer than centers in nearby cities like Hobbs and Ruidoso.

"It’s a matter of competition," said Roswell City Councilor Steve Henderson.

Henderson said if they expand their new facility, then people will come but if they don’t have the facility they won’t.

It will cost the city around 7 million dollars that it doesn’t have, but they’ve come up with a way to raise it that would target the hotels, and charge the visitors that stay in them.

The extra tax would be $2.50 per night, per room in every hotel in Roswell.

"Naturally, the hotel people aren't excited about this," said Henderson.

They sure aren’t.  Jason Welch from Motel 6 said it won’t be easy. "The first few months of that is going to be pretty tough, there is going to be a lot of people upset about having to pay that," said Welch.

The manager at Frontier Motel doesn’t think it’s a good idea either.  He doesn’t think there is enough demand for the convention center.

"If there is not enough inquiries for the civic center, then why are they spending their money," said Bipin Bhakta.

The tax would need to stay in place for 10-15 years to raise the money.  The city is at least two years away from starting construction. 

The City Council will vote on the surcharge at Thursday night’s meeting.