Occupancy taxes showing growth overall

Increase in November; decrease in October
Dec. 09, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

RUTHERFORDTON — Occupancy taxes collected by lodging properties for marketing the county by the Tourism Development Authority, saw an increase in taxes last month. The November taxes collected were 4.16 percent over November 2011, the board of directors were told Thursday during its regular business meeting.

However, TDA also learned the taxes collected in October decreased by 6.23 percent from October 2011.

"We are still staying without our budget ... but we are going up and down," said TDA Executive Director Michelle Whitaker. Occupancy taxes are used to promote the county across the state, nation and world.

Overall Whitaker believes the fiscal year (June 30, 2013) will end with an overall growth of near 3 percent, but will not reach the 9 percent growth from 2010 to 2011.

A 5 percent tax is collected by lodging properties from its overnight guests. 

Baymont Inn, which has become the property owner of the former Jameson Inn in Forest City,  the newest property to collect taxes.

In other financial  matters, the board received reports from Rutherford County Finance Officer Paula Roach regarding recent fund balance expenditures.

TDA has an available fund balance of $240,000, Roach reported, which is higher than the board's goal of 25 percent to keep in the fund balance for 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Fund balance expenditures have included $20,000 for the Bechtler Mint; the website management, Bechtler Feasbility Study, and Visitor Information Network expenditures.

"We get this money," TDA Chair Sally Lesher told and board,  "and our stakeholders expect us to spend the money."

Also Thursday, the board also heard from Whitaker that  a movie director came to Rutherford County recently to scout locations for a $5.5 million low budget film,and she was very please with the locations.

Whitaker and Public Relations Director Michelle Yelton, put together a packet of information and traveled with the movie director throughout the county. Whitaker believes the only thing keeping her from coming to Rutherford, will be the budget. 

Whitaker also reported the recent TDA Alliance Conference attended by more than 100 people was a success and she has scheduled the 2013 conference for Nov. 12.