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Syracuse considering hotel tax to combat the city's structural deficit

Ava Pukatch

The Syracuse Common Council is considering supporting a 2% hotel tax in the city.

The city's tax would be on top of the 7% hotel tax imposed by Onondaga County. It applies to hotels, motels and other short-term rentals like Airbnb.

Frank Caliva, chief administrative officer for the city, said the tax is a way to address the city's $30 million structural deficit.

"Is it a panacea for our structural deficit? It is not," Caliva said. "Is it 10% of the structural deficit when you look at it in percentage terms? It is. And that's not a bad place for a single initiative that doesn't impact residents and property owners to be 10%."

The total number of hotel rooms in the city is decreasing by about 400 as both the Sheraton Hotel and the Crowne Plaza are being converted to residential housing.

"With 2,200 rooms, there will be an increase in average room rate," Caliva said. "That's always seen as soon as a tax like this goes through, average room rates tend to rise. I believe our portion of this will be about $1.75 million on an annual basis."

The legislation is sponsored by Syracuse area representatives - Democratic State Senator Rachel May and Democratic State Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. If the council passes the resolution in favor of the legislation, it would pave the way for the tax to be signed into law.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.