The Village of Ephraim is the only underperforming municipality in the county when it comes to year-by-year room tax collections, according to the September room tax report from the Door County Tourism Zone Commission (DCTZC).
County-wide room tax collections year-to-date through September are up four percent from last year, an increase of $149,489, and September was up 2.1 percent above the same month in 2016.
Besides the Town of Forestville, which only brings in a few hundred dollars, Ephraim was the only municipality to show a decline in room tax collections.
Ephraim had a strong June showing, but has seen year-to-year declines in July, August and September, with the most recent data from September showing a 7.5 percent decrease in collections. The village also has fewer units available, and lower occupancy rates for the late summer months.
Village Administrator Brent Bristol said the village lost some rooms with the closure of the French Country Inn and the conversion of Harbor View Resort to private condominiums.
Ephraim is just $401 behind its year-to-date collections compared to 2016, or 0.09 percent, but the trend contradicts the rest of the municipalities in the county. Ephraim saw an average annual increase of approximately $16,000 in room tax collections annually 2014 and 2016.
The Town of Sturgeon Bay, Washington Island and Sister Bay are seeing the largest year-to-year increases in collections.
Sister Bay has collected $46,568 more room tax dollars through September compared to 2016, giving the village approximately $14,000 in its budget.
Gibraltar stayed flat at approximately $99,000 collected in September. The City of Sturgeon Bay and the Town of Egg Harbor had the greatest gains while Jacksonport and the Village of Egg Harbor showed small losses.
September has consistently been a stronger month for room tax collections than June, but that gap is getting wider. In 2013, September room tax collections were five percent more than June. In 2017, that gap jumped to 8.1 percent.
Other notes from the September room tax report:
- Average room rates were more expensive this year compared to last year. The most expensive place to rent a room in September was Clay Banks ($185), followed by Baileys Harbor ($176). The cheapest average room rate on the peninsula for the month was on Washington Island ($104).
- Gibraltar and the Village of Egg Harbor showed decreasing occupancy rates and fewer units available, meaning fewer people were staying in those municipalities. The increased dollars collected by these two municipalities in September can be attributed to more expensive rooms compared to last year.