City of Waleska plans to attempt hotel/motel tax ordinance on resident students

By Meagan Hurley and Kelcey Caulder

Members of the City of Waleska met with President Dr. Thomas Isherwood last Friday to discuss the city’s planned imposition of a hotel/motel tax ordinance, a consumer lodging taxation, on Reinhardt resident students. If passed, the ordinance would require approximately 615 resident students to pay a set taxation fee, ranging from three to eight percent, each semester in order to reside at the Waleska campus.

If passed, the ordinance would be the first instance of hotel/motel taxation to occur on a residential campus in Georgia. It would go into effect on July 1, 2015.

According to city officials, the proceeds of this taxation would go toward placing and maintaining streetlights, sidewalks and new signage around Waleska, as a portion of the hotel/motel tax must directly benefit community tourism.

In breaking down how the taxation would work, Aimee Abernathy, City Manager, said, “You pay a set number for food, room, board, and all of it. It’s part of that package. So what you would do, [they] would take out anything for food, the only thing that would be looked at is the count for heads in beds. The actual amount of bodies that sleep in just the facility. You would divide that amount into the number of days of the semester, multiply that times thirty, and then that’s by the percentages.

So, if part of the package is $500 dollars for thirty days, it would be $15 a semester for this tax. That tax would go into sidewalks, streetlights, and other improvements.”

In short, the rate will be concluded by dividing the number of residents by the number of days in a semester, and then multiplying that number times thirty.

Doris Jones, Mayor of Waleska, views the taxation as a way for students to be involved in the improvement of the Waleska community.

“We want to change the face of Waleska…By doing the small amount that you would be doing, in some ways you would gain ownership, you would have a piece of Waleska… You could walk around and say, ‘I helped do that,’” Mayor Jones said last Friday.

She continued, ”We are looking to bring about a better looking Waleska. Reinhardt is already beautiful. We have not had the funds to do it with… This is a way that it’s not going to hurt the students.”

Abernathy added, “[Dr. Isherwood] explained to us the concerns of the students and of the independent schools because this has not been imposed in Georgia. It is legal, but people have not taken advantage of this opportunity. We are so small that we need this opportunity. “

University President Isherwood takes a different stance on the hotel/motel ordinance, stating that he feels Reinhardt students are, and should be considered, citizens of Waleska. Citizens of a jurisdiction are not subject to hotel/motel ordinances.

“I expressed to the mayor that I felt the students living in residence halls were citizens of Waleska and that our students should be able to register to vote in the city of Waleska,” he said.

”I spoke to the mayor and city manager Friday. My understanding is that they are being advised by the Department of Community Affairs that they can apply a hotel/ motel tax to our residential students. We have been in contact with our attorney and he interprets the law differently and doesn’t feel that that’s possible.

Basically, I informed the mayor that this will be an issue for our students and their parents. We will encourage our students to express themselves and to be involved, to be respectful, but at the same time to be free to take whatever political action they feel appropriate…If it does become law, obviously Reinhardt obeys the law.”

Student Government Association President, Alexander Bryant, issued the following statement on behalf of himself and the SGA Executive Board:

“Student Government Association does not support or condone the taxation policy proposed by the City of Waleska. Reinhardt University and its residential students do not want or need this financial burden imposed by the City. We believe it sets a dangerous precedent for taxation of residential students not only in the community of North Georgia, but nationwide.

We are not opposed to the City of Waleska’s growth, in fact, we support it. However, we believe that there is a way to achieve that growth which is mutually beneficial to both parties, and does not involve putting a further financial strain on low-income college students. Student Government Association will work to mobilize the students of Reinhardt to fight this policy in any way possible.”

The proposed hotel/motel taxation will be discussed in further depth at the City Council meeting on Sept. 22. Meetings occur every first and third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. Council members encourage attendance.

For more details regarding the hotel/motel taxation ordinance, visit:

http://www.dca.state.ga.us/development/research/programs/hotelmoteltax.asp

Freshman Nightmares: Locked Out

Courtesy of Reinhardt.edu

Courtesy of Reinhardt.edu

Eat dinner, finish homework, and sleep. Nowhere in my plans for Monday night did I include waiting for five hours to get into my dorm room.

After returning from the store, my roommate and I found my key incapable of unlocking the door, with her key trapped inside. Not long after the realization, I called Residence Life to fix the situation. First the RA on duty arrived, then Public Safety tried to work their magic, and finally various workers tried their hand at opening the door. Nothing worked. Master keys and crow bars weren’t able to open the door, unless we wanted to rip it down and wait weeks or even months for a new door.

Even though I wasn’t into my room until late that night, not once did any of the workers give up. After working diligently for over four hours, one locksmith suggested the only way to enter the room was through the window, a procedure that would not be available until the next morning.

Knowing I would be sleeping on the suite room couches that night, my suite mates and I prepared to eat dinner, which I missed while waiting for the door to open. Within half an hour, the locksmiths returned with a new idea. They want to take the lock and handle out of the door in order to replace it the next day.

Finally, I was able to access my room once again and finish what work I could. Although, the procedure took longer than expected, I’m very pleased with how diligently Residence Life, Public Safety, and various maintenance men worked to get my roommate and I back into our room.

Next time anything happens in the residence halls, be sure to call Residence Life or Public Safety. Never try to fix it yourself, or else you could be sitting outside your room for five hours trying to merely unlock the door.

 

Written By: Lexi Brendel, Freshman Staff Writer

Connection Lost: What’s Up with Wifi?

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

What’s up with the Reinhardt Wifi?

Every night after 9 the wireless internet connections at Reinhardt slow, streaming Netflix becomes nearly impossible, and students doing homework scream in frustration at the sluggish connection.

Virgina Tomlinson, head of the IT department at Reinhardt, attributes this to the amount of devices connected to the networks. The IT department has not seen any evidence that the access point connections have not completely gone down, but rather have simply slowed due to the amount of people trying to access the internet at the same time.

When the access points were installed in 2008, students had two or three devices that connect to the internet. Now, students have many more devices: laptops, phones, iPods, iPads, Kindles and more. Because all these devices are connected to the same access point, it will slow connections to an unbearable speed.

If a student is having issues, Tomlinson recommends turning off the wifi on devices not in use. The IT department hopes to straighten out this problem in the near future. President Isherwood wants to raise $800,000 to enhance the technology at Reinhardt. If the money is raised, the IT department plans to rip out all the old access points and replace them with new ones. For the time being, be patient.

Candice Bailey

The Death of PJ Hall

paul jones

It is my sad duty to inform the student body that PJ Hall is dead. Some of you may be wondering who is PJ Hall and why is he so important that the newspaper is covering his death? Well, PJ Hall is not a person at all. I am speaking of Paul Jones Hall here on campus, the beloved home of many students and faculty members.

Many students were disappointed to learn that their home had been closed down. Adam Bathe, a junior, was particularly upset after hearing the news. “When a place has been your home for two years and they just up and shut it down, it’s weird.” said Bathe. He went on to say that there were many great memories attached to the building such as mattress jousting and throwing a flaming lazy boy recliner off the balcony. The boys of Paul Jones gave the building an exciting life.

Paul Jones Hall was not only the home of students but of Nurse Al and the Public Safety officers. Nurse Al worked in the Health Center there for eight years and she too was upset when she learned she had to move across the way to Smith-Johnston this year.

If you ask an upperclassman their thoughts on why the building was closed they will tell you the reason is that it’s haunted. This is not true. Though the building is old and creepy, it is not haunted. When asked this same question, Walter May, Director of Student Activities, gave some very good reasons. “There were not enough students living in the building to justify keeping it open. It is better to move the boys to other dorms instead of having 20 boys living in Paul Jones and that many empty rooms in the other halls. It was a matter of saving money.”

What lies in the future for Paul Jones Hall? Walter May gave some interesting information on the subject. “We hope to renovate the building and use it to provide more office and classroom space for faculty.” He went on to say that with the money they will be saving; Reinhardt hopes to build a new residence hall in the future.

Paul Jones Hall was loved by many and will be missed dearly as the home of many people. Paul Jones Hall lived a long and happy life and will one day rise from the ashes to live again.

Brittany Radcliff

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