LEWES, Del. — Changing the Gross Receipts Rental Tax for short-term rentals and adding a city lodging tax on hotels took the forefront of the conversation for more than an hour during a mayor and city council workshop meeting Thursday morning.

The city is considering raising the Gross Receipts Rental Tax for short-term rentals, like Airbnb and bed-and-breakfasts, from 5 to 6 percent. Mayor Andrew Williams says this is to level the playing field for short-term rentals.

Hotels currently pay an 8 percent State of Delaware lodging tax. The city is proposing adding its own 3 percent lodging tax. 

Concerns were raised about the potential negative impact these tax hikes could have on tourism, a significant industry for Lewes. Hotel Blue Owner Scott de Kuyper says the tax hike could cause small business owners to close their hotel doors and make way for big franchises.

"If you want Lewes to remain Lewes, the way I think most of us do, then you want small, personalized properties and this tax is just one more thing that just makes it really difficult," de Kuyper says. "We're going to have an 11 percent tax now and that's a lot of money."

No decisions were made during the meeting. The mayor indicated that the next steps would include possibly adding the lodging tax proposal to a future agenda for further discussion to potentially send it to a public hearing. 

A proud Lewes native, Mallory is a dynamic weeknight anchor at CoastTV News, where she brings a blend of local insight and journalistic excellence. Twice honored by the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Mallory earned the "Video Journalist/One Man Band Reporter" award in 2020 and was part of the team that won "Outstanding Morning Newscast" in 2022. Tune in to see Mallory anchor CoastTV News at 11 p.m. on weeknights and keep an eye out for her reports during the 5 and 6 p.m. broadcasts.