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Increase in property tax frustrates motel owners

Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 14, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — At the Relax Inn Motel off 60th and L Streets, almost every room is vacant.

"It's not just affecting us, it's affecting everybody."

Father and son Mahesh and Kishen Patel own about nine hotels and motels across Omaha. There's a dilemma in how much they need to charge for rooms if they're to break even ever since they saw the motel's property value for this year.

"WIth the increase, about 76 percent for us, we were paying an amount in property taxes with an increase, now we're at about 8 to 10 thousand dollars more," Kishen said.

Over the past three years, the Patel's motel was valued at $287,000. This year, it's $589,000.

"We're going to have to make up that 8 to 10 thousand somewhere," Kishen said. "Typically it would be raising our rates, but we can't do that when our competition is a franchise hotel at 70 dollars a night."

"I can't survive here charging 50 or 45 dollars a night."

The Patel's have reached out to an assessor, but want more information. They're unsure what the increase is all about.

"Maybe because of the recent senior living facility next door and the new high school across the street," Mahesh guessed.

The father and son have looked at other hotel values. Everyone, from the mom and pop shops to the franchises have been affected. The Patel's just aren't sure if they can keep up with the competition.

"For the College World Series and the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Convention ten years ago, we used to sell out weeks in advance," Kishen said. "Now we're struggling to fill our guest rooms the day of."