Tourism tax passes with 76%

By CHARLIE SMITH,

Columbia voters today approved a 3 percent sales tax on restaurants and hotels that will go toward building a sportsplex and other parks and tourism improvements.

The referendum passed with 76 percent, according to unofficial returns, well above the 60 percent it needed.

Mayor Justin McKenzie announced the results at City Hall at about 9 p.m., calling it a “huge day for Columbia.”

“We will make Columbia a better place tomorrow than it is today,” he said.

Turnout was about 21 percent with 699 of the city’s 3,308 registered voters casting ballots in the special election. Of that, 531 voted for the tax and 168 voted against.

The tax is expected to take effect July 1 and generate about $750,000 per year.

For more details, see Thursday’s Columbian-Progress.

Caption: Columbia Mayor Justin McKenzie announces the results of the tourism tax referendum Monday night at City Hall.