MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. – The Muhlenberg Township commissioners voted unanimously Monday to create a tourism improvement district. Hotels with 30 or more rooms in the district will be required to collect a 2% assessment for overnight stays at the hotels.
Pennsylvania's Americana Region, the county's tourism bureau, will be collecting the assessment from the hotels.
Crystal Seitz, the president of Pennsylvania's Americana Region, said the money will be collected from people staying overnight, not the residents. The bureau is hoping to collect approximately $600,000 through the tax, which, according to Seitz, will be used to promote the region and the township.
Seitz said the bureau is collecting the tax at hotels in Wyomissing and is working on doing the same in Caernarvon and Spring townships, where the majority of the county's hotels are located. Muhlenberg Township has three hotels that qualify – the Comfort Inn, the Econo Lodge and the Rodeway Inn.
"The end result of this is economic growth, not only for Muhlenberg Township as a whole, but for your businesses, because when people come in and they stay overnight, generally they spend $200 to $230 a night here in the area," Seitz said. "They're eating out. They're having coffee. They're going to things like your RiverFest festival."
The township moved closer to merging its two fire companies – the Goodwill Fire Company and the Temple Fire Company – by asking the Berks County Department of Emergency Services to acknowledge Muhlenberg Township Fire & Rescue as Unit 66, starting next year.
The commissioners also authorized the Schuylkill River Greenways to design and install a water trail landing at Lower Felix parking lot, at River and Whitner roads.
Jim Bobeck, the township's director of parks and recreation, explained that Greenways will use grant funding to install the water trail landing along the Schuylkill River. He said the trail landing would be a small boat launch for canoes, kayaks, and small boats that can be carried.