City of Mason wants recreation tax

(MASON, OH) -- If you're headed to Kings Island or the Beach waterpark over the summer, you may have to pay an extra tax to the city of Mason.

Memorial Day's a big weekend at Kings Island. It kicks off a summer when millions visit the park. And if Mason leaders have their way, all of those visitors will pay a city tax.

Mason city council member Tony Bradburn has a list of cities across Ohio that already have an "Attendance Tax."

He says it would only help the city deal with $40 million in problems.

"Highways, basically, bridges that might need to be expanded, so on and so forth, and the interchange of Western Row and 71," said Bradburn.

Bradburn says the ATP tennis tournament, Kings Island and the Beach waterpark are all untapped sources, and he may have a point.

The Warren County Convention and Tourism Bureau says the three see most of the six million people who come to Warren County.

Kings Island averages about three million visitors a year, the Beach sees about 300,000 and ATP brings about 280,000 during its tournament.

"We want to make sure we give our customers a real value," said Tara Nahrup with the Beach.

For these attractions, the idea of adding a tax on admissions isn't popular. It would likely translate into a higher price at the entrance gate.

"The Beach and Kings Island, we have both been around for over 20 years, and we don't feel like we're causing any infrastructure problems with the city," said Nahrup.

But around town, opinion is mixed.

"I think that would be good because there are a lot of roads around here that do need fixed.I think it would help out," said resident Dustin Sandlin.

"That would be unacceptable in my view. We're already taxed enough," said another resident, Jeff Bonham.

Mason city leaders have not said how much they'll make this tax.

Right now, they say they're still discussing the possibilities, but Bradburn says if they can get this tax approved by council, they might try to get it started sometime this year. Sara Gouedy