First hotel tax check comes in short

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2008

NATCHEZ — The first check from the $2 hotel tax came in late last month, and another one is anticipated within the next week.

Director of Tourism Connie Taunton said the check for August’s revenue was received in October.

The gross amount of the check was $25,291, but the state tax commission, which the hotels report to, takes out 3 percent for accounting, Taunton said.

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So, the net total was $24,532.27.

While a fairly decent number for the month of August, Taunton said it’s below the mark.

“We did not meet our projection,” she said.

But this is not because they had miscalculated in their projection of $34,808.

“In talking with the tax commission, they said that we had several of the bed and breakfast properties report quarterly versus monthly. Then there was a large property that was delinquent,” she said.

She said if those properties had sent in their revenue to the tax commission, the difference between the projected amount and the actual amount would be far less.

Natchez Convention Promotion Commission Board President Royal Hill said the board is excited about the revenue.

“As a board we feel comfortable with the revenue generated,” he said.

And in the months to come, the checks should be larger.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the results from the activities of the (Great Mississippi River) balloon race,” he said.

He said increases in convention center bookings will bolster the revenue as well.

Taunton said she was looking forward to getting the first check.

“I couldn’t wait to get it they were about a week late,” she said, because it took a little while longer since it was the first time cutting a check for Natchez. “I don’t think they were as worried about me getting it as I was to receive it.”

Taunton said the checks are received on a two-month cycle. Taunton said the check from September will come around in November and so forth.

Taunton said the checks come around the 15th and 16th of each month.

All hotel tax revenue goes into a separate account from the general fund, Taunton said.