Nearly $4M in resort tax collected in FY 2018

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Whitefish collected nearly $4 million in resort tax during fiscal year 2018.

In FY18 the city collected $3.98 million, which is an increase in resort tax collections over the previous two fiscal year periods, according to the city. FY18 runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

In FY17 the city collected about $3.6 million in resort tax, while in FY16 it collected about $3.2 million.

The resort tax is collected on lodging, bar and restaurant food and drinks and “luxury” retail items.

Assistant City Manager and Finance Director Dana Smith said the resort tax collections for FY18 were 9 percent higher than in FY17.

While most of the increase in collections is in lodging at 14 percent, retail and bars/restaurants are seeing an increase as well in the 6 to 8 percent range, Smith noted.

“This trend has allowed for additional property tax relief in the FY19 budget because any amount collected over the budgeted amount must be returned to taxpayers as additional property tax relief,” Smith said.

The tax was first implemented at 2 percent in 1996 with 65 percent collected going to street and water projects, 25 percent to a property tax rebate and 5 percent kept by business owners to administer the tax. Voters in 2016 approved a 1 percent increase in the tax with 75 percent of collections going to the Haskill Basin conservation easement and 25 percent toward property tax rebates.

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