After finishing off 2013 with a bang, and then slowing down in 2014, the Tourist Development Council bed tax revenues for the first half of the 2013-14 fiscal year are running a tiny bit below those of one year ago.
During the first four months of 2014, the county’s receipts of the 2 percent bed tax were about 2.8 percent behind that of the first four months of 2013. For the entire seven-month period of the fiscal year, which began in October 2013, revenues were a statistically insignificant $300, or 0.08 percent, below that of one year ago.
This pace was considerably slower than the last three months of 2013, when the fiscal year opened its first quarter by running nearly 6 percent ahead of the prior year.
While these seven fall and winter months are typically among the slowest for tourism, they do suggest that the county will have to post a banner summer season in order to hit the $1 million mark in fiscal year receipts for the first time since the 2 percent bed tax began in 2005.
The county opened the fiscal year in October at nearly 7.7 percent ahead of the year prior, receiving nearly $58,000 to best its best October on record.
But bed tax receipts took a tumble in November, falling by nearly 14 percent for the month, back to 2011 levels.
In December, traditionally the slowest month of the year, receipts posted a sharp rebound, rising from $21,500 to nearly $30,000, for a better than 38 percent increase.
This trend to have the best months on record continued in the first two months of 2014, January was about 3 percent ahead of the year before, and February was about 7 percent ahead.
But in March, the bed tax receipts again dropped, this time by about 3.3 percent, falling below the $80,000 mark set in 2013.
In April, the bed tax receipts took a more than 10 percent nosedive, falling by more than $9,000 from the record $90,000 mark set in 2013. The April 2014 bed tax receipts were below those of April 2012.
Bed tax collections for the three biggest months of the year – May, June and July – comprise nearly half of the entire bed tax receipts for the entire year. In the last fiscal year, bed tax receipts were at about $978,000, only about $22,000 short of the $1 million mark.
With the exception of slight drops in the 2008-9 and 2009-10 fiscal years, TDC revenues have increased every year since the tax was put into place in 2005, beginning with about $698,000 in its first complete fiscal year of existence.
Franklin County’s tourism marketing efforts are currently funded through a 2 percent tourism tax collected from visitors by lodging providers countywide. Commissioners are preparing to place a proposal on the November ballot that would double the bed tax to 4 percent, and bring in more than $900,000 estimated additional revenue per year to TDC coffers.
How the year is going
2012-13 2013-14 Difference Change
October ‘13 $53,543 $57,652 $4,109 8.1%
November $40,334 $34,741 - $5,593 -13.8%
December $21,510 $29,748 $8,238 38.2%
January ‘14 $33,657 $34,707 $1,050 3.12%
February $49,365 $52,883 -$3,517 - 7.14%
March $80,880 $78,180 -$2,700 -3.34%
April $90,243 $81,115 $9,128 -10.12%