April Snowstorm Smothers Room Tax Collections

The two feet of snow that fell on Door County in mid-April is credited with a 21-percent decline in April room tax collections year over year. Of the 14 municipalities with room tax collections in April, 13 saw decreases in April compared to the same month last year. Washington Island was the only gain with just a $20 increase.

Door County Tourism Zone Commission Administrator Kim Roberts said some lodging establishments had to delay opening and contractors that open seasonal cottages were backlogged into the end of the month.

That is evidenced by a 10-percent decrease in the number of available units countywide in April. Of the 15 municipalities with rooms available in April, 12 had a decrease in the number of available units throughout the month. Occupancy rates in April also decreased by three percentage points from last year.

Even without a snowstorm, April is not a booming month for lodging, accounting for just 1.8 percent of annual collections in 2017. But the blow was enough to wipe out modest gains in the first three months of 2018. Countywide room tax collections for the first four months of 2018 are down 0.9 percent compared to 2017.

The snowstorm appears to have hit lodging in the City of Sturgeon Bay particularly hard, with a 25.3 percent decrease in room tax collections in April. Sevastopol, Nasewaupee and the villages of Ephraim and Egg Harbor also registered relatively large declines in April room tax collections.

As of the filing of the April room tax report, there were 39 units that had not paid room tax, but those collections are unlikely to turn April collections positive.

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