Hotel bed tax could help save Dayton Convention Center

The latest version of the state budget bill includes a path for charging a hotel bed tax in Montgomery County to fund renovations of the Dayton Convention Center.

The new language, added Wednesday night, would allow county commissioners to pass a resolution to create a convention facilities authority that would be allowed to levy up to a 3-percent hotel lodging tax across the county. If residents object to it, they could subject the tax to a referendum vote.

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The city of Dayton is the only large or mid-size city in Ohio that owns and operates a convention center.

In December, the Dayton Convention Task Force shared recommendations to save the convention center and invest about $15.2 million to upgrade the facility.

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The 24-person task force recommended increasing the county lodging tax to 6 percent from 3 percent and putting the new revenue into the convention center. The extra 3 percent is projected to generate an additional $3 million per year.

Built in 1973, the convention center has 150,000 square feet of floor space and 77,000 square feet of exhibit space.

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