Carencro begins its new hotel/motel tax with only one hotel — so far _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The Enconomy Inn on I-49 in Carencro.

The sole hotel in Carencro began collecting an additional 4 percent sales tax payable to the city as of Jan. 1.

The tax isn’t expected to pool much money at the Economy Inn, where rooms start at about $40 a night; however, the tax is for the future, Mayor Glenn Brasseaux said.

Brasseaux said he hasn’t calculated the estimated revenues for the initial year of the tax because it’s expected to be minimal, but he noted that prospective companies have contacted the city about potential hotel development.

“We may end up owing the tax,” he joked. “The proceeds for a while will be low.”

The new tax won 55 percent of the vote, or 987 votes, on the Dec. 6 ballot. The tax was pitched as a way to raise revenue to support tourism and economic development in the city.

While there have been serious inquiries from hotels interested in the area, no commitments have been made yet, City Manager Jay Castille said.

The city owns Pelican Park, a ballfield that attracts softball and baseball tournaments from across the country. Castille said the city recently invested in improvements in the park, and it purchased a now-closed indoor ice rink to revamp as a recreation center. Both sites could lead to future development within the city, he said.

The city also plans to build soccer fields behind Pelican Park and the new recreation center, which is adjacent to Interstate 49 and which will have an indoor soccer field.

“Hopefully that will attract more hotels for the people who come and play ball,” Castille said. “We’ve had some new hotels interested. We’ve had some calls with some pretty serious interest.”

Castille said the future revenue could be used for advertising to promote tourism and to help build infrastructure for hotels that decide to develop in the city.

“There are a number of things we plan to do to promote our city,” he said.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.