Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Town of Chapin has scheduled an informational meeting on a proposed municipal Hospitality Tax that will be held on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the town hall. That’s located at 157 NW Columbia Avenue in Chapin. The meeting will start at 6:00 p.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m.
The town has quietly been talking about a Hospitality or H-Tax for some time. The last time it was seriously being looked at was just before the closing of the construction project at V.C. Summer’s plant 2 and 3. When that went bust, town business, and government leaders felt it was best to let the economy work itself out and the financial hardships that accompanied that project’s bankruptcy dissipate. Now that the food and drink scene in Chapin is back to booming, the H-Tax idea has resurfaced.
An H-Tax is a pretty easy tax to swallow. The majority of towns and cities in Lexington County already have one. The tax is a small percentage per dollar spent that's added to the purchase of any prepared food or beverage items sold inside the taxing entities’ boundaries. The money goes directly to that entity, in this case the town of Chapin, and can only be spent on certain items and function that draw more guests to the area. Those guests in turn buy food and drinks while they’re visiting. When they buy, they’re paying more H-Taxes. Eventually, people who live outside the town are paying the lion’s share for improvements the folks who live inside the town can utilize and enjoy.
Some people think that prepared food and drinks are just the burger or steak you buy at a restaurant. That is just the tip of the iceberg. If you buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, a fountain drink, a cake made at a bakery or a daiquiri at your local watering hole, those are all prepared food and drink items. Even boiled p-nuts fall into this category. When you purchase these things inside the town, a few cents on the dollar is tacked on as an H-Tax.
According to the town’s Facebook page, people have been talking about a wish list that includes, “Access to green space, a welcoming gateway to our community, signage to enhance the vibrancy of our town and an accessible safe, walkable town center are some of the desires we are trying to address.” The post went on to say that funding has become a major obstacle in addressing these issues. “One of the potential funding vehicles identified to create viable solutions has been a hospitality tax.”
If you have questions about what specific projects the town would like to fund with H-Tax money, drop into the meeting Thursday. It’s better to understand what you are paying for and how an H-Tax will affect you.