CVB collects more than $200K for first time
Published 8:12 am Tuesday, September 26, 2017
The hotel business in Boyle County continued a lengthy upward trend in the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to nearly final statistics on room taxes collected by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the CVB collected a total of $205,333 from its 3-percent transient room tax, CVB Executive Director Jennifer Kirchner said. It’s the first time the CVB has crested the $200,000 mark.
“We exceeded our projected revenue by $333,” Kirchner said, explaining that the CVB had a goal this time around of coming as close as it could on its projections in order to be transparent and fair to taxpayers.
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Last year, the CVB collected $197,717 — the most it had ever collected until this year. The year before that, 2014-15, was also a record year with $178,011 in room taxes collected, according to a spreadsheet provided by Kirchner.
Room tax revenues have risen steadily in Boyle County for close to two decades, according to the spreadsheet, with only occasional dips. The CVB collected $67,630 in 1997-98; that revenue had more than doubled by 2004-05, when it was $137,249.
The CVB anticipated seeing additional revenue beginning in January 2017, with the addition of the new Holiday Inn Express on the south end of the Danville bypass, Kirchner said. That hotel opened a month early in December and has so far exceeded expectations for how quickly it has filled its rooms.
“They’re still ramping up, but they’re like a full payer at this point, which is a total game-changer for us,” she said.
The CVB collected more room tax revenue than the previous year in each of the first six months of 2017, though it has seen revenues dip in July and August, according to the budget spreadsheet. This July, the CVB collected $17,715; last July it collected $17,767. This August, it collected $11,767; last August that figure was $18,924.
Kirchner said she’s hopeful with the new hotel now in place, the CVB could quickly crest another milestone for revenue: $300,000.
“What would really make me happy is exceeding $300,000, but I don’t know if that’s asking for a lot since it’s their first year,” she said. “But we hope to soon in the next couple years.”
Hotels are now in their peak season as October approaches and Kirchner said it’s hard to find a room anywhere in Boyle County. October is often the busiest month of the year for hotels — the most room revenue the CVB has ever received in a single month came in October 2012, when it got $22,659; and the second-most was $22,061 in October 2015. Kirchner noted October 2012 was when Centre College hosted a vice-presidential debate; and October 2015 was when Lexington hosted the Breeder’s Cup.
Kirchner told CVB board members she would like to improve collection of room taxes from individuals who rent out rooms or houses through applications such as AirBNB.
She said she is interested in having the City of Danville and the Boyle County Fiscal Court adopt ordinances concerning collection of room tax fees and late fees for failure to pay.
“The world of AirBNB is changing so quickly and we’re trying to get those taxes captured accurately and on time,” Kirchner said.
The CVB could use a “more robust delinquent policy” from the city and county in order to make sure payment of the local taxes is enforced, she said.
“We could write an ordinance that has crazy late penalties, (but) if nobody is going to enforce it, it doesn’t mean anything,” Kirchner said. “So I really need to talk with (Danville City Attorney) Stephen (Dexter) and (Boyle County Attorney) Lynne (Dean) and get an idea of what this looks like on the local level and what we’re able to do.”
Kirchner said AirBNB announced last week that their hosts will be collecting the state’s 6-percent sales tax and 1-percent room tax — but the state didn’t get anything in the agreement concerning local room taxes.
“Now I feel like we are going to have AirBNB owners slightly more confused than they originally were,” she said.
Kirchner said officials are working to include local room taxes in a modified agreement with AirBNB, but when that might happen is unclear. Until then, she plans to “double down” on providing information to local AirBNB hosts about the local room tax.
“To protect the hotels and just with all the changing, we just need to have really clear collection policies and payment policies across the board,” Kirchner said. “… I want to advertise for all the AirBNBs, but I don’t want to do it if they’re not paying room tax and it’s not done equitably like the hotels have to do.”
Kirchner said she believes there are currently seven AirBNB hosts operating in Boyle County, though some have more than one location they rent out. That number doesn’t include others operating on competing room-rental apps and web sites.
ROOM TAX REVENUES
Fiscal years 1998-2017
97-98 — $67,630
98-99 — $95,229
99-00 — $89,666
00-01 — $117,245
01-02 — $123,365
02-03 — $129,312
03-04 — $134,228
04-05 — $137,249
05-06 — $152,814
06-07 — $155,603
07-08 — $163,917
08-09 — $157,922
09-10 — $152,218
10-11 — $157,085
11-12 — $172,595
12-13 — $164,555
13-14 — $171,079
14-15 — $177,487
15-16 — $197,717
16-17 — $205,333
Numbers taken from CVB comparison spreadsheet. 2016-17 number provided by Jennifer Kirchner.