After a strong May performance by Orange County’s tourist-development tax, Orange County Comptroller Martha Haynie has gotten a bit edgy about those who might be eyeing the influx of cash.
Haynie’s office reported last week that the tax on short-term rentals generated $14.9 million in May — an 8.1 percent increase compared with the same month a year ago. Through the first eight months of the county’s fiscal year, the tax has generated $128.8 million, or 6.1 percent more than the same period a year ago.
Various interests are jockeying for a piece of the tourism-related cash, including Citrus Bowl boosters, who, the Sentinel revealed last week, are lobbying for additional tourist-tax money for their project.
“I want to remind everyone that almost all of our annual resort-tax collections are already committed,” Haynie said in a written statement. She detailed the current obligations, which include: payments to Visit Orlando, the convention-and-visitors bureau, and to various sports and cultural organizations; the “mortgage payment” on the county convention center; and upcoming upgrades to the convention center. Also, aid for the new downtown performing-arts center and the Citrus Bowl kick in when collections reach a certain level.
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