Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hailey LOT up over last year

Car rentals and hotels still down 28 percent from 2008

Express Staff Writer

Hailey's local-option tax receipts are up more than 8 percent over the same period last year, from October to March. The increase in the city's five-year-old "tourist tax" show a higher increase in sales of liquor than hotel, car rental and food categories.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that this is an indicator that things are getting stronger," City Treasurer Becky Stokes said.

The city's LOT is more than 10 percent higher than the same period in 2010, and nearly equal to the same period in 2009, when tourists were spending quite a bit more money in and around Hailey than they have during the past three years.

However, the city's receipts for hotel and car rentals are down 29 percent compared with the same period in 2008. Liquor and food have remained about even.

Stokes said she was not sure why car rentals and hotels are down as much as they are.

"People could be flying into Boise and renting cars, or using Mountain Rides, which is showing increased usage," she said.

Hailey pays for many services and projects with LOT funding. The City Council plans to pay for consultant services for the city's Urban Renewal Agency in weeks to come using LOT funds.

Almost $2 million has been raised since the city implemented the LOT six years ago, Stokes said.

Tony Evans:

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