Clermont County hotel tax hike considered to pay for FC Cincinnati practice facility

Clermont County hotel tax hike considered to pay for FC Cincinnati practice facility (WKRC)

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) – There could be a hotel tax hike in the Tri-State to pay for an FC Cincinnati practice facility. Clermont County Commissioners held a special session and informational meeting Tuesday night.

The popularity of FC Cincinnati is undeniable. At some point, the soccer franchise will likely build its own stadium in or very near Cincinnati’s urban core. The Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau is hoping the soccer club will build its practice facility in Clermont.

Jim Comodeca is interim president for the organization. He said, “Clermont County is incredibly convenient to downtown, to the airport and we've invited FC out here. We've had them come out and look. Originally, we pitched seven or eight different locations.”

Comodeca gave a presentation to residents and the Clermont County Commissioners. The hope is to use a lodging tax to help fund a practice facility. County commissioners could approve an additional 1% to be added on to the county’s lodging tax. Right now, the tax is 6%. The lodging tax affects people staying in the county’s hotels. The additional 1% would be used to build, maintain, and improve a practice facility. County Commissioner David Uible expressed his confidence in the visitors bureau.

“As a commissioner, I’ll do what I can to help them bring in more tourism dollars. Tourism dollars are just extra money coming into the county which we don’t have today,” said Uible.

Right now, the additional 1% tax is not in place. Commissioners cannot implement it unless the visitors bureau secures a contract with a pro sports team. Comodeca says the bureau is working hard to continue making Clermont an attractive option for FC Cincinnati.

“We’re continuing the dialogue with them. We’re continuing to explain to them what we believe are the opportunities for them out here,” said Comodeca.

Not everyone has been supportive of the proposal. Some residents have questioned the transparency of negotiation process saying that much of it was hidden from township trustees and residents. One Union Township resident, Chris Hicks, alleges potential ethics violations and conflicts of interest. Hicks could not be at the meeting because Commissioner Uible has a restraining order against Hicks. Hicks says Uible is trying to prevent him from speaking out against the negotiation process and how it occurred.

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