Tupelo's May tourism tax revenues fall 19.6 percent

TUPELO – Tourism sales tax revenues were down nearly 19.6 percent in May compared with the previous year.
At the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau monthly board meeting Monday, Kim Hanna, the city’s interim chief financial officer, reported collections of $219,262. The money comes from a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants.
It’s the third straight monthly loss and the biggest one this year.
For the year, the tourism tax revenue is up 0.41 compared with last year. In fiscal year 2008, the revenue was up nearly 7.1 percent. The CVB this year based its budget on an increase of 3 percent.
Hanna said the CVB has enough reserve funds to weather the lower revenues.
Along with reporting monthly sales, the CVB board also approved the bureau’s 2009-2010 budget of $3.5 million. New this year is a line item for $75,000 to host the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, an event the city’s hasn’t hosted in 20 years.
The CVB also set aside $55,000 to host a potential special exhibit that still is being negotiated.
In addition, the board voted to give raises in line with what the city does, if it gives raises. Last year, the CVB’s raises were more than the rest of the city employees received, which caused much discussion from the City Council members before the budget was approved.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal