An Open Letter to The Citizens of Dahlonega October 6, 2017

October 6, 2017
An Open Letter to The Citizens of Dahlonega

Dear Dahlonega Residents:

This letter relates to a flyer dated September 25, 2017, recently actively distributed in Dahlonega to tenants of Dahlonega Rents, LLC with the heading "Possibility of Rent Increase Notice". The "Notice" perpetuates a false rumor of several months ago which appears to have originated from a political campaign flyer. Both are shown in the accompanying link. This letter is offered to make sure the general public is aware of some basic facts.

While the City encourages free speech and lively debate, the City categorically denies the assertion(s) made in the Notice. Neither the current Council of five, nor the previous Council of seven, "has discussed the possibility of placing a bed tax on those that rent to students", as described in the flyer. Not only has such a discussion never occurred, no such authority exists under Georgia law.

The one time this topic was mentioned before the Council was in a public meeting April 20, 2017. Approved minutes of the meeting reflect, "Council Member Norton said he would like to take this time to clarify that lodging tax does not apply to student housing. Finance Director Marlowe stated lodging tax only applies to rentals that are less than 30 days." There was no discussion on this point by the Council prior to or since Mr. Norton's clarifying comment.

The parties involved are encouraged to reconsider, revise and correct their statements. Each is also invited to call or meet privately with me at any time, or ask questions of the Council in the citizen comment portion of every regular City Council meeting. None of the three involved has used either option. There is not and will not be a bed tax for student housing, either on campus or off. Georgia hotel/motel taxes apply to hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts for stays of less than thirty days.

Please contact me, if further clarification on this or any other issue is needed.

Sincerely,

William E. Schmid
City Manager