Duncan voters overwhelmingly pass tax extension

Duncan_More than 90% of Duncan voters favored a 20-year extension of the city's hotel/motel tax in a special election on Tuesday.  The tax will help to fund tourism and recruit conventions and other events to the city.  The tax also will pay for repairs and other upgrades to the Simmons Center that might host some of those events.  Community leaders say the sales tax is a win-win for Duncan - they'll reap the benefits of a tax that residents don't have to pay.  The tax is 5% on room rental, and that small percentage could add up to more than $200,000 in only one year which would go to promote Duncan.

Drivers traveling down Highway 81 in Duncan will have no trouble spotting a hotel, and the Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Loisdawn Jones says that's money in the bank.  "I can tell you we projected that we would have $270,000 in revenue."  That revenue brings in more through advertising.  "It's very easy to overlook a community the size of Duncan - which has a population of 22,000 - without that funding being available so we can market ourselves aggressively to the rest of the state," she said.

The tax also keeps one of the city's gems - the Simmons Center - in great shape.  Have of the taxes will go directly to the Simmons Center Foundation.  "In order to keep it looking good and have it ready for conventions and conferences that can accommodate anywhere from five people to 1,000 people - in order to do that, there had to be funding made available," she said.

The tax is not a new one.  Duncan residents voted to keep it just like they did 12 years ago.  "If you're progressive you want your community to grow - you want to be able to showcase your community," she said.  "It's just a logical step to make sure you take that you have a tax like that in place that's paid by the visitors that come to your community."

Jones says the tax helps fund the advertising for some non-profit organizations, and allows them to hold conventions at the Simmons Center.  The Trail Dance Film Festival, Chisholm Trail Car Show, and the World's Largest Garage Sale were made possible because of tax money used to sponsor the events.