Amana Colonies seeks hotel-motel tax revenue

A stroller has been converted into a planter at the home of Scott and Ursula Williams in Middle Amana, one of several gardens featured in the first year of Colonies in Bloom, on Thursday, July 16, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
A stroller has been converted into a planter at the home of Scott and Ursula Williams in Middle Amana, one of several gardens featured in the first year of Colonies in Bloom, on Thursday, July 16, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Legislation to allow the Amana Colonies to raise money from a hotel-motel tax was approved 21-3 on Monday by the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee.

The legislative change would allow the Amana Colonies to raise revenue to market the area, which is a tourist destination.

In the past, Iowa County, where the Colonies are located, has shared as much as half the revenue from its 7 percent hotel-motel tax. However, in two of the past three years, the county supervisors have zeroed out that appropriation and directed only $25,000 to the Amana Colonies the other year, according to Rep. Dawn Pettengill, R-Mount Auburn.

Iowa law allows cities and counties to impose a hotel-motel tax of up to 7 percent on rented lodging. House File 186 would extend that authority to land use districts. The Amana Colonies is the state’s only land use district.

Iowa County’s 7 percent hotel-motel tax generated $127,000 for the county in fiscal years 2015 and 2016, according to the Legislative Services Agency. A portion of that was from lodging within the Amana Colonies.

The Amana Colonies already levies a property tax of 27 cents per $1,000 of value on property that is not tillable farmland, pastureland, timber pasture or forestland. It is expected to generate $26,000 this fiscal year.

If the Amana Colonies was allowed to capture its portion of the hotel-motel tax revenue, it could realize as much as $63,000 based on last year’s lodging numbers, Pettengill said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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