Friday, September 9, 2011

Ketchum LOT receipts slip

Hotel receipts drop nearly 13 percent in July

Express Staff Writer

The local-option tax is sometimes called the "tourist tax," but it doesn't appear based on LOT collections that the influx of visitors in July had the impact many had hoped.

The city collects a 2 percent sales tax on lodging and by-the-glass liquor sales, and a 1 percent tax on retail sales and building materials.

LOT collected in July and reported to the city in August dipped .84 percent compared with the same period last year.

Liquor receipts dropped more than 11 percent, or $2,337. However, liquor receipts are up almost 10 percent in year-to-date figures compared with last year.

Room receipts took a 12.5 percent plunge, taking in about $2,000 less than during the same month last year.

"It bolsters my thought that we really haven't seen the return of the visitor strongly yet," said City Administrator Gary Marks.

Condominium receipts fared better, showing an 8 percent increase, or $534.

The "other retail" category posted a 1.35 percent increase, or $1,647, over the same month last year.

The building material receipts category had its first gain in five months, posting a 3.58 percent increase, or $627, over numbers reported last August. But year to date, the category is still down 7.5 percent.

Marks said numbers in the report might not tell the whole story. Businesses that file their payments late, for example, can "throw those numbers around to some extent," he said.

"Clearly, we have businesses that are having a very difficult time," he said.

Marks said that although the city is experiencing a lot of fluctuation in some LOT categories, he sees an encouraging sign: In looking at the LOT numbers for late spring and summer so far, the city is experiencing a slight upward trend.

"If you take the swings out of this, we're averaging somewhere between 2 and 4 percent for late spring and early summer," he said. "It shows overall where we've been for the last few months. We're averaging on the upside, which is better than averaging on the downside. The trend is we're up a little, (and) it is a trend."

So far this fiscal year, total LOT collections are up nearly 13 percent, with just two categories, room receipts and building materials, posting year-to-date losses.

Rebecca Meany:

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