Friday, January 12, 2007

Hailey LOT down for November

Approximately $165,000 received since July

Express Staff Writer

Thanks in large part to a notable drop in lodging and rental car sales, Hailey local option tax returns for the month of November were at their lowest point since the tax was first instated.

"They were lower than what I had expected," Hailey City Clerk Heather Dawson said Thursday.

Earlier this week, Dawson released the city's November LOT returns during a Hailey City Council meeting.

LOT returns throughout November for lodging and car rental sales, liquor-by-the-drink and restaurant food totaled $18,444, she said.

Broken down by category, lodging and car rental sales generated $7,397, sales of liquor-by-the-drink generated $3,872, and restaurant food sales generated $7,175.

Of the three categories, November returns from the latter two—liquor-by-the-drink and restaurant food—were either nearly the same or slightly above October returns.

"That's funded by the local populace to some degree," Dawson said.

Tax returns from lodging and car rental sales, however, were significantly below October returns of $12,111, totaling just $7,397 for November.

The city has allocated $157,997 out of the $164,755 that has been generated by the LOT so far, Dawson said.

This is in keeping with the City Council's desire to be somewhat conservative in spending LOT dollars at first, she said.

"It's slightly behind our collections," Dawson said. "And we want to keep it there."

On May 23, 2006, Hailey voters approved the new tax on various tourist-related services by a significant 597-268 vote.

Despite the drop in Hailey's LOT revenue for November, the city still appears to be headed toward meeting the projected annual revenue estimate of $325,000, Dawson said.

"We're still very confident on meeting our estimate," she said.

The estimate was one of the key bits of information highlighted by the city in the run up to the May 23 vote.

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