SARASOTA –– Sarasota County tourism officials expected the news to be bad.
According to data released by Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates, revenues from the tourist development tax plunged, dropping from $3.6 million in February to $2.2 million in March, a decrease of 39 percent.
In a month to month comparison, the March 2020 revenues looked even worse. In March 2019, Ford-Coates reported that the county received $4.3 million, a decrease of 48 percent on the year-to-year comparison.
The tax is collected on hotel room stays or other rental accommodations of less than six months. It can be used only for the construction of tourist related facilities, advertising or promotions, or beach and shoreline maintenance.
The county recently used revenues from the tax for the construction of CoolToday Park, the Atlanta Braves spring training facility in North Port, and part of the beach renourishment project on Manasota Key.
County commissioners will conduct a mid-year budget workshop this Thursday where the drop in this tax along with declining revenues from other sources will be a topic as they consider the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the county’s budget.
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