Peru's collection of hotel-motel taxes were down 24 percent in August, and were $27,217 less for the first eight months of this year compared with the same period in 2008.

The news came from a report by City Council Finance Committee chairman Joe Mikyska at Monday's council meeting.

In March, a report at the council meeting said the city's hotel-motel tax receipts were up by more than $7,000 from the previous year.

Alderman Jamey Mertel asked if Baymont Inn and Suites was open and paying the tax.

"They haven't paid anything since January and this is August," he said.

On Feb. 6 a sprinkler system broke and flooded part of the hotel, forcing it to close for repairs. Baymont is on Trompeter Road northwest of the intersection of Interstate 80 and Route 251.

Fire chief Jeff King said he was there in May to approve repair of the system. "It looked like it was open to me," he said.

John Micheli, building and zoning inspector, said the hotel also needed a state inspector's permission to reopen after the leak. Micheli said he believed the hotel reopened in August, but he was going to check on that.

Two new hotels are under construction and expect to open soon. A Holiday Inn Express & Suites is going up just northeast of Baymont. Southwest of the I-80/251 intersection, a Hampton Inn is being built next to La Quinta Inn and the vacant Leath Furniture building.

The council approved using $12,800 of its hotel-motel tax receipts to fund a new batting cage and storage shed at Veteran's Park. The vote was 7-1, Alderman Jack O'Beirne voting "no."

"I'd like to see that money going toward keeping the swimming pool open," he said.

Talk of checking on tax collection prompted Alderman Dave Potthoff to ask if sales taxes were being paid at Hidden Treasure Flea Market, which opened this summer in north Peru. The owners agreed to pay the city $1-a-day tax from each vendor. Mikyska and Doug Schweickert, the city's attorney, said they believed they are paying the tax.

More council news in Tuesday's NewsTribune

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