SANTA BARBARA — The city of Santa Barbara released revenues collected via sales and bed taxes, with both totals falling short from the same time periods a year ago.
The city received $5.6 million in sales tax revenue during the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2020, which is 12.6% below the same quarter last year. City officials contribute the decline to the “reduced economic activity” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related response, which has affected nearly all economic sectors, according to officials.
General retail and restaurant sectors have been particularly affected due to Santa Barbara’s tourist-based economy.
As the second largest general fund revenue, the sales tax budget for fiscal year 2021 is $22.2 million. City staff are projecting sales tax revenue to end the fiscal year at approximately $21 million, approximately 5% less than the budget.
Sales tax results for the March quarter will be available in May of this year.
In addition, the city collected $348,987 in transient occupancy taxes for January 2021. TOT revenues in January 2021 were 68% below January last year.
Despite a steady recovery since April 2020, lodging operators have experienced a difficult travel environment, as the most recent surge and additional state advisories against leisure travel have further depressed demand for accommodations. Staff expect this reduction in demand to continue at least until the spring months.
The city has collected $7.6 million through seven 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.
— Grayce McCormick