SANTA BARBARA — The city of Santa Barbara collected $758,227 in transient occupancy taxes for February 2021, 21.8% below the taxes collected in February of last year.
City officials attribute the decrease in tax revenues to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related response, which “continues to affect the local travel industry,” Jennifer Tomaszewski, finance and treasury manager for the city, said in a news release.
“As the state has lifted travel advisories, and as access to vaccinations has become more available, there is still public concern with potential new strains of the virus, efficacy of the vaccines and the impacts to the economy,” she said. “The local travel industry, however, is beginning to see increases in demand for rooms relative to recent months that is likely to continue throughout the spring into the summer months.”
The city has collected $8.3 million through the first eight months of the city’s fiscal year, which runs through June 30. The city’s adopted TOT budget is $17.2 million. TOT is projected to end the fiscal year at approximately $14.5 million, which is 16% below budget.
Transient Occupancy Tax, also known as bed tax, is charged to guests at short-term rentals such as hotels and motels.
In fiscal year 2019-20, the city collected $15.1 million in Transient Occupancy Taxes, nearly $5 million less than the anticipated budgeted amount.
— Mitchell White