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Ho-hum, resort taxes set another record, tourism up

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

For the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office, setting a new monthly record for resort tax collections is as common as a full moon. It’s no longer big news.

The pace for March was no different from the preceding 32 months. It was another record-setting month.

Sue Sinquefield of the resort tax collections division reported $1.7 million was collected in April for March resort taxes, the highest ever month. The resort tax is the 5 percent paid on rentals of six months or less and is paid one month in arrears.

The $1.7 million for March 2014 was 13.3 percent ahead of the $1.5 million collected in March 2013, and was the 32nd month of record collections when compared to the same month the previous year.

Anna Maria Island cities and the Manatee County portion of Longboat Key brought in $1.06 million in resort taxes for March, or 62.4 percent of total collections.

Holmes Beach led all collection areas and municipalities with $433,000 in taxes. Anna Maria contributed $208,000, Bradenton Beach $162,000, and Longboat Key $260,000.

The $1.7 million in March brought collections for the first six months of fiscal year 2013-14 to $5.8 million, on pace to surpass the record $8.99 million in 2012-13.

Along with resort tax collections, tourism to Anna Maria Island and the Bradenton area also has climbed.

While the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has not released tourism figures for March and April, the BACVB reported February occupancy of area accommodations was up 6.8 percent from February 2013.

“I’m certain that tourism for March was up from last year,” Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Mary Ann Brockman said.

“Many of our members said this past winter season was their best ever, and there hasn’t been much of a slowdown in May,” she said.

“Before you know it, we’ll be in our summer season,” Brockman said.

“Typically, our summer season brings a lot of Floridians to the island, especially in August. I think summer on the island will be very busy.”

The resort tax is used to fund the BACVB, beach renourishment projects, the Bradenton Convention Center, and other tourism-related projects and attractions budgeted by the Tourism Development Council and approved by the Manatee County Board of Commissioners.

Resort tax collections in Manatee County began in fiscal year 1989-90, when $1.4 million was collected.

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