The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave initial approval Tuesday to an ordinance that would institute a hotel/motel tax within the town limits.

The 4% tax on accommodations for transients passed unanimously upon its first reading. It will have to pass once more upon its second reading at the Aug. 3 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Mayor W.T. Daniels was clear about the fact that the board would be taking a second look at the ordinance.

“We can go ahead and pass this on first reading, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will pass upon second reading,” Daniels said.

Greene County currently has a 7% hotel/motel tax, but the state has instituted a policy change that will now allow municipalities to levy their own hotel/motel tax on top of the county tax. This means that, if approved, the combined hotel/motel tax rate within the Town of Greeneville would total 11%.

Alderman Cal Doty expressed concern that the tax could hurt local hotel and motel owners, and asked Financial Director Lora Young if she knew of any other surrounding towns that were also taking advantage of their newfound ability to levy a hotel/motel tax.

Young said she did not know, but she would find out before the next board meeting.

The board also approved a resolution that would reduce the Greeneville Planning Commission’s jurisdiction to property within the corporate boundaries of the town.

This allows Greene County to take full planning and zoning responsibility of the area within Greeneville’s urban growth boundary, which had become of little use to Greeneville after annexation law changed in 2015.

“When the State disallowed annex by ordinance, you knew this was going to happen,” Daniels said, “and we should follow through with this action.”

Residents living within the boundary will no longer have to deal with the Town of Greeneville Planning Commission even though they live outside the city limits.

“This will lead to less confusion and less work for our planning department,” said Greeneville Planning Director Randy Davenport.

The Greene County Planning Commission, the Greeneville Planning Commission, the Greene County Commission, and the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen have now approved of the jurisdiction change.

To continue the process, Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels and County Mayor Kevin Morrison will have to write letters in support of the change.

The change must then be approved by the state through its Local Government Planning Advisory Committee.

Among other business, the board approved two street closures for special events.

A portion of West Church Street will be closed for the Dickson-Williams Mansion 200th Year Celebration, and portions of College, Depot, and Summer Streets will be closed for the Inaugural Boo Fest Fall Event.

The board also approved the purchase of additional roll-out trash carts and large garbage containers for the Public Works Department.

Consideration of the Greene County Hazard Mitigation Plan was tabled until the Aug. 3 meeting at the request of Emergency Management Director Heather Sipe.

At the Beer Board meeting after the aldermen meeting, the board unanimously approved a request to serve wine at the Incredible Farm Dinner On Main hosted by Rural Resources.

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