PARKERSBURG - Revenue from hotel tax collections on both sides of the river is up.
According to Wood County records, July tax collections were $74,459 compared to $52,152 for July 2011. Collections from the hotel/motel room occupancy tax for August 2012 were $57,048 compared to August last year at $45,725.
The county receives the revenue from the hotels/motel room tax in the unincorporated areas, which make up about 68 percent of the tax collected.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Mark Lewis is the chief executive officer and president of the Greater Parkersburg CVB.
State code requires at least 50 percent of the tax collected go to local convention and visitors bureaus with the balance to be spent on specified recreation/tourism projects.
Projected income from the hotel/motel tax for 2012-2013 was earlier listed as $526,188, up about 17 percent, Greater Parkersburg CVB officials said back in July. Tourism officials said overall increases in the hotel/motel stays have been seen over the last three years.
Mark Lewis, president and chief executive officer for the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the hotel/motel funding is the bureau's primary source of revenue.
* The Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau headquarters are located at 350 Seventh St. in Parkersburg, 304-428-1130.
* The Marietta-Washington County CVB is headquartered at 121 Putnam St., Suite 110, Marietta, Ohio, (740) 373-5178.
"Anytime we see an increase it's positive in so many ways. It means the hoteliers are doing well, more people are staying more nights and that also means area shops, stores, attractions, restaurants were positively impacted as well. It means we at the bureau have more money to work with, for marketing and programs, and it's obviously also helpful for the other entities that receive funding through the hotel/motel tax," he said.
Lewis said the July figures may be somewhat artificially inflated because there were a lot of rooms booked by workers staying in the area, and people who didn't have power.
"But looking at the numbers month by month, it's overall very positive news for the local economy," Lewis said. "We hope that upward spiral continues, a rising tide lifts all boats."
In 1985, the West Virginia Legislature authorized cities and counties to impose a hotel occupancy tax. In 2008 after raising the room occupancy tax from 3 to 6 percent, county commissioners adopted guidelines for the new Innovative Program Grant/Special Promotions Fund, which is funded through a percentage of the county's share of hotel/motel tax revenues. These grant funds are offered on a competitive basis. When the grant program was created, county officials said the purpose was to bring visitors to the area and increase hotel stays.
Besides the CVB, which now receives 50 percent of the hotel/motel tax revenue, and Mountwood Park which gets 18 percent, other entities receiving hotel/motel tax and their percentages are: Actors Guild, 1 percent; Artsbridge, 2 percent; Belleville Homecoming, 0.75 percent; Blennerhassett Historical Foundation, 0.50 percent; Fort Boreman Park, 2.75 percent; Julia-Ann Square Historical Society, 1 percent; Oil and Gas Museum, 1.50 percent; Art Center, 1.50 percent; Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon, 0.50 percent; Parkersburg Homecoming, 2.50 percent; Smoot Theatre, 2.90 percent; Veterans Museum, 1.10 percent; Wood County Historical Society, 0.50 percent; West Virginia Interstate Fair and Expo, 4 percent; Veterans Park, 2.50 percent; Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival, 0.50 percent; and Innovative Grant Program, 6.5 percent.
The Marietta-Washington County CVB gave back $8,418 to the city of Marietta's general fund, the result of stronger than projected transient guest tax revenue. The bed tax is 30 percent above projections there. Three percent of the six percent tax is appropriated to the CVB by the city of Marietta. In 2012, the visitors bureau has given a total of $19,981 to the city of Marietta's general fund.
"The increase in revenues has benefited Marietta and the CVB tremendously," said Chuck Swaney, president of the Marietta-Washington CVB board of directors. "Like the city, the surplus in funds for the CVB is a blessing."
With additional funds, the CVB addressed infrastructure needs and increased its marketing funds. According to Jeri Knowlton, executive director of the Marietta-Washington County CVB, the increase allowed the bureau to address critical needs and plan for the future.
"The CVB still has critical infrastructure needs that will need addressed in order to continue to provide 21st century solutions to 21st century traveler expectations," said Knowlton.
Hotel tax collections for November 2012 were $41,144; an increase of more than 33 percent from the same time period in 2011. The increase in hotel tax collections reflects an increase in people staying in the area. With 104 more hotel rooms in Marietta than 2011, and another 104 rooms scheduled for 2013, both the city of Marietta and Marietta-Washington CVB will continue to benefit from the demand of hotel rooms due to increased overnight travel.